After 5 decades, Chile’s controversial classic returns to stage

Santiago stages the seminal Chilean play Los Invasores (“The Invaders”), originally directed by legendary folk musician Víctor Jara.

One of the most important theatrical works ever produced in Chile, Los Invasores (“The Invaders”) is as confronting and controversial as it is historic – and now it’s returning to a Chilean stage after nearly 50 years, coming to Santiago’s Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM).
The theatrical work first appeared on stage in 1963, amid a turbulent decade of social upheaval, economic inequality and clash of classes, that culminated in Latin America’s first democratically elected Marxist president in 1970 and a military coup in 1973.
Chilean playwright Egon Wolff depicts the conflicts of the era in a style known as “hybrid theater,” similar to that of Arthur Miller and the North American realist school.
Though it is now considered one of the great Chilean plays of all time, this unflinching portrayal divided the country upon its original release.
“It generated ferocious controversy,” Wolff, now 86 years old, recently told La Tercera. “The work was written under the influence of a revolution that was coming to do what Castro did in Cuba, reconstruct society on new parameters. The Chilean bourgeois was terrified, and in this context I wrote Los Invasores.”
The play is set in the mansion of the Meyer family, wealthy industrialists who believe that they will lose everything to the poor and dispossessed. Those fears begin to materialize when the house is invaded by a homeless man. Little by little, as the Meyer’s nightmare becomes reality, the murky history of the family is revealed.
At the time of its stage debut, Los Invasores was directed by Chilean folk legend Víctor Jara, an icon of the cultural and political revolution in Chile, furthering its mystique among theater-goers.
When: The play runs until April 29, beginning at 9pm on Thursdays-Saturdays and 8pm on Sundays.
Tickets: General entrance tickets are priced at US$12 (CLP6,000), with Thursday shows going at half price. Seniors and students are US$6 (CLP3,000) for every show.
The play is complemented by an exhibition of paintings by Egon Wolff as well as a documentary about the famous playwright, on display in the GAM library. Entrance is free, and the works can be seen from Tuesday to Friday between 10am and 8pm or 11am to 7pm on weekends.
For more information, see GAM’s official website.