Below is our review of Minefield from summer 2016 as part of LIFT Festival
Minefield review ★★★★★
Memory is played out in the present in Lola Arias’s poignant and undeniably compelling Minefield. Three British and three Argentinian veterans from the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas war take the stage to find common ground in a process of reconciliation, reflection, and remembrance. Minefield is living theatre and living memory, and includes music, dance, artefacts and old footage to bear witness to a very recent and still residual part of history.
Each veteran is introduced in front of two large white screens that meet at a right angle, while subtitles of either English or Spanish scroll above. Cameras occasionally film the actors and the images are fed in real-time behind them They bleed down onto the floor. There’s also a drum-kit, guitars, a projector, a desk, and each veteran’s wardrobe visible to the audience. Arias deftly acknowledges the multiple methods of telling stories, and uses each of these as prompts to make each narrative intimate and affecting.
Minefield moves chronologically from the beginning of the conflict right up until the present moment (the only time where memory really exists). Apart from a rousing masked parody of Thatcher and Galtieri, politics are set aside to prioritise the personal stories of each veteran. Some segments work better than others, but diversity is key. By including the sinking of the Belgrano, the mind-numbing hours waiting in trenches, and even references to the rehearsal process, Arias allows for the multiple, sometimes conflicting, narratives to be sewn together, not forced but like patch-work.
The performances are brave and moving, especially considering the endless struggle of reliving trauma. When it’s easier to sing or to drumb the veterans do so, a cover of the Beatles’ Get Back perhaps, and the potency of the piece echoes through brash sounds of both cymbal and siren.
Minefield is the type of theatre that sparks a different way of learning and envisions a different way of living. It builds a bridge to the past and to each other. Through its own process and its own performance, it demonstrates the power of memory and the importance of communion.
|What||Minefield, Royal Court 2017|
|Where||Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
07 Nov 17 – 11 Nov 17, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£12 - £45|
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Court|