Wednesday, January 4, 2012


On the eve of New Years Eve my boyfriend gave me the somewhat ambiguous news that we'd be going to see a show, but that I was advised not to dress up or wear anything I didn't mind getting ruined. None of my questions 'why' were answered. Upon entrance to the theater, we were lead into a large room, not dissimilar to a black-box theater, but without any seats. Instead, a crowd of people gathered, filling up the space and moving to the sounds of spinning house music (a combination of synthesized west-African drumming and Latin samba rhythms). A monotone voice came over the loud speakers advising the crowd to follow crew instruction and move easily throughout the space, among other, more standard instructions. The most central crowd began to move outward, making space for what appeared to be a large peninsula coming out of the wall. A strong white light poured out through an opened door, out of which a man (also in head-to-toe white) followed. The peninsula, which turned out to be something like a treadmill on steroids, moved to the center of the room and would become the centerpiece for the action throughout the show.

Fuerza Bruta is filled with surprises like these: women running at a 45 degree angle against iridescent fabric, dance numbers that happen on moving set pieces, running through walls of cardboard and confetti, audience participation, and finally; overhead synchronized swimming.

The result is a combination between postmodern movement show, performance art, and rave. The surprises are refreshingly new and convey a sense of wonder I haven't experienced in a performance for some time. The show, described as a "360 degree experience," originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2005 and made its permanent home in New York City in 2007. That the show asks the audience to constantly change perspective and position, in addition to the fact that the audience may - at any time - participate in the action itself, keeps the energy as kinetic in the audience, as in the performers. The entire space is used as the stage; sets appear almost out of thin air, walls are used as playgrounds, and the roof descends a pool of water into which women dive face first and slide quickly, making shapes with their own and each others' bodies.

Not usually do I assert that a show ended too soon, but in this case...I did. After the "performance" ends, the music continues as water and mist are dumped on the audience. Fuerza Bruta is a fun and engaging show that will challenge your conceptions of postmodern theater by convincing you that you are simply at a dance party.

No comments:

Post a Comment