"It's very liberating for our characters to wear some tacos" | Culture

When the Argentine actresses Pilar Gamboa, Elisa Carricajo, Valeria Correa and Laura Paredes began to transform themselves into men for their last theatrical piece, Petroleum, they realized that they were gaining space and relaxing. "They occupy more space, they are more comfortable, the male is also more focused on him, not like the female body, which seems to be waiting all the time to see what the other thinks," says Carricajo at the San Martín Theater of Buenos Aires. Two hours are left to go on stage to become Palladino, a worker recently arrived at an oil well in Patagonia where he will live with three companions. Little by little, the new one begins to bomb the bunker of masculinity, of which women are far away. Gesture to gesture, gender boundaries begin to fall and the feminine that had been erased in the dressing rooms emerges before the public, not to prevail but to create a hybrid queer liberating

"El Palla is the new one among a group of boys It should not be easy to come and say: 'Hello, how are you doing? I'm going to sleep in this little bed next to you,'" says Pilar Gamboa. Interprets the Carli, the alpha male who looks with suspicion on the freedom with which his partner moves. On his first night after the workday, with temperatures below zero, Palladino takes a female fur coat out of his bag to leave the house-container and go to the bathroom. "It's my wife's," she argues before the astonished gaze of the others.

It is only the beginning. "You better get used to it," he warns them shortly after, dressed in a sequined sweater that the others can not believe. From that bag will come dresses, creams, stockings and heels. "He is someone very free in the choices of what the genre gives him, as if he were wondering what to drink, and if he likes sushi with roast, he eats that, it produces a certain humor because they are choices that are not they combine ", describes Carricajo, the actress who gives life to him.

The opening proposed by Palladino gains speed with the passage of minutes. The rhythmic sound of the well is derived from a pogo scene with one of the musical anthems of The round ones and ends with Formosa wearing a fuchsia sequin dress. "Well, I harangued", responds to the silence created around him.

Carricajo, Gamboa, Paredes y Correa at the San Martín Theater in Buenos Aires.
Carricajo, Gamboa, Paredes y Correa at the San Martín Theater in Buenos Aires.

"Once you question the idea of ​​established gender, you see that all gender must be sustained, whether as a woman or as a man.For men it is also very difficult to maintain masculinity because gender is a construction, it is not natural. our characters are very liberating to put on their tacos, "says Correa, who plays Formosa. Describes his character as a man "who holds masculinity from the threat, the typical petiso (low) that becomes the bad guy because if they come to shit it in pineapples they put it on".

"When they begin to relax and allow themselves to start trying on women's things, it was important that the work did not close that sense, that they did not think, 'Oh, now they are sexually encouraged to have this enjoyment of the broad genre.' Or not only, but that they also wear women to be able to say that they are afraid or that they are cold, in bad conditions, as if allowing themselves to wear those clothes had a moving effect with all that masculinity they have to sustain, "Paredes says. On the tables is Montoya, a childish, asexual man. "Her release is due to being in pajamas, she does not like masculine games, her biggest wish is to be warm in her bed," says the actress.

As in Minefield, by Lola Arias, Petroleum It deals with an exclusively manly world in everyday life, in that space in which the work was finished. "A trans friend who helped us in the drageo He told us that if the masculine world is the exterior and the domestic the feminine, this work had the sensibility of telling the masculine from the domestic, "admits Carricajo.

"I know many Carlis," one spectator tells another as he leaves the show. "El Formo is my brother," says another. The authenticity that the characters transmit was the result of a work of observation and construction of the whole group, Lava Skin. "Sasha, the trans friend Elisa talked about, in a rehearsal instance told us: 'Well, there is something that has to happen and that is that you have to leave and you have to feel the most ... It does not matter if one is destroyed, If he does not have a girlfriend, if he is afraid, he has to feel like a capo. "And he told us that when he started going out as a man, everyone said 'capo, maestro, genius, boss, how are you doing', the way of communicating with men, for women it is 'pretty, mommy, doll, mommy', I do not know if it's what I want, she told us, she helped us a lot, "says Gamboa. "He told us: 'They jump with the cold and a man closes his jacket and goes to the bench.' They were very specific things from someone who had made the road to self-perceive with the other genre," recalls Paredes.

The questioning of stereotypes provokes laughter in the public, but also mobilizes and invites reflection. "A friend who told us I went to the bathroom after the show and did not fly a fly," says Carricajo laughing. "They are workers who decide to stop producing absolutely everything, stop producing oil, stop producing masculinity, what happens if you stop producing, if you stop sustaining?" Gamboa asks. "The new paradigm of fluid gender is less about sustaining and more about being, I hope men and women can be more comfortable each with what they want", Correa wishes.

In a few minutes the four will have replaced the dresses, blouses and skirts with which they have arrived at the theater by thick work overalls, boots, hats and sweaters. They will sport beards and mustaches and under their trousers they will intuit their removable penises. It is obvious that they have fun and they spread that playful spirit to anyone who is willing to laugh at himself.

Five works in 15 years of work and friendship

"It's very liberating for our characters to wear some tacos"

Petroleum It is the fifth work of Lava Skin. Gamboa, Carricajo, Correa and Paredes founded this artistic collective 15 years ago and they stay together. Seven floors above the room in which they play Carli, Palla, Formo and Monto, can also be seen in The flower, the 14-hour cinephile banquet by Mariano Llinás with which they reigned in the last Bafici. "We are very friends, half family already, it was always a flexible group, in which if one has to go to film a film, the group waits.When the group had the fantasy of dissolving it we turned it into a work that talked about the dissolution of a working group, "says Gamboa. "Also, we always say it, Lava Skin holds up, demolishing the myth that women can not sustain themselves in time ... Well, here they are."


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