Campo Minado / Minefield

LOLA ARIAS | Argentina | Documentary theater


In «Campo Minado / Minefield», the Argentinian director Lola Arias reunites six veterans on stage who were once enemies in the Falklands War. Great Britain went to war against Argentina 36 years ago: in trenches and hand-to-hand combat, man against man. The conflict broke out after Argentina reclaimed the islands in 1982 and the UK sent a task force to reclaim the British overseas territory, which is 12 000 km from Britain. Six Falkland veterans explain in «Campo Minado / Minefield» their personal tales with touching honesty. Lola Arias shows how war becomes part of an individual’s life story and dissects the war propaganda portrayed in popular culture and the made-up legends of heroes in battle.





For your piece “Minefield”, you casted three Argentinian and three British veterans of the Falkland War 1982. What happened when they first met more than 30 years later?  

When they met, the most difficult part was already over: to convince them to take part at all. For the Argentinian performers, this was harder than for the British. It took a lot to convince some of them. But when the British and the Argentinians first met, they sat down together and shared their memories. They showed each other photos and went through a map of the islands to show where they were based. “Where were you?” – “I was here.” – “Oh, we were actually just facing each other. Maybe you shot at me!” Going back and remember their former selves was the starting point. And from there on, they created a very special community.


The piece runs for quite a while now – did the protagonists’ relationship to their own stories change over time?

You have to know that none of them was on stage before. Like Marcelo Vallejo put it once: “This is the first time I am in a theatre – and I am on stage.” The have to actualize their relationship to the piece every time they go on stage. It also happened that they realize after countless repetitions that certain memories and episodes have been not exactly as they remembered. They had to repeat these stories over and over again, before they can admit this – to others and to themselves.


The piece was shown in the UK and in Argentina – did the reactions differ?

In the UK people were mainly surprised to hear about a war they almost had forgotten. In Argentina it was different. Here, the memory is still very alive and the claim for the sovereignty of the islands continues. Some people even demonstrated with signs and flags in the audience, but then, after the piece, they hugged the British performers and cried. It sometimes turned into a real moment of catharsis.


Why did you decide to work with real people, with “witnesses” who, in a way, “testify” on stage?

I am working like this for quite a while. Because I am interested in how somebody becomes an actor. Everybody, really everybody, has very special performing qualities. And If you learn how to work with it, it brings something to the performance a “normal” actor could not bring. In the case of “Minefield”, I also wanted to create a utopian community of people that live together through rehearsals and shows. Then, they start to create a special bond. And this is so much more important than the actual theatre piece.


Text, Regie Lola Arias | Mit Lou Armour, David Jackson, Gabriel Sagastume, Ruben Otero, Sukrim Rai, Marcelo Vallejo | Recherche, Produktion Sofia Medici, Luz Algranti | Szenografie Mariana Tirantte | Musikalische Komposition Ulises Conti | Lichtdesign, Technische Leitung David Seldes | Video Martin Borini | Sounddesign Roberto Pellegrino, Ernesto Fara | Regieassistenz Erika Teichert, Agustina Barzola | Assistenz Technik Imanol López | Assistenz Produktion Lucila Piffer | Assistenz UK Kate O’Connor | Kostümdesign Andrea Piffer | Produktion UK für LIFT Erica Campayne, Carolyn Forsyth, Matt Burman | Produktionspartner Gema Films | Koproduktion LIFT Festival (UK), Royal Court Theatre (UK), Brighton Festival (UK), Universidad Nacional de San Martín (AR), Festival Theaterformen (DE), Le Quai Angers (FR), Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (DE), Maison des Arts de Créteil (FR), Humain Trop Humain (FR), CDN de Montpellier (FR), Athens & Epidaurus Festival (GR) |Mit Unterstützung des British Council (UK), der Argentinische Botschaft in Grossbritannien und Nordirland, des Arts Council England (UK), The Sackler Trust (UK)


Das Gastspiel findet in Kooperation mit dem Zürcher Theater Spektakel statt und wird unterstützt durch die Stanley Thomas Johnson Stiftung und den SüdKulturFonds.