Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich


February 15th, 2008 · No Comments · Reviews, Theater

The Nosuch terse review of “Fuerzabruta“:

Gritty, loud Cirque du Soleil-style performance art that eschews elaborate costumes and precision acrobatics, instead offering dancers cavorting overhead on ropes, treadmills and giant transparent plastic sheets, all watched from the comfort of a smoky, tightly packed mosh pit.

FuerzabrutaThe show offers a number of striking set pieces, and there’s a lot of wind, flying bits of paper, water and strobe lights involved. For good and bad, the show is basically like watching highlights of dance performance special effects. There’s no attempt to put any of these amazing visuals into a narrative framework, which means the show is short, intense, visually powerful, but not very deep. This isn’t necessarily meant as a criticism, as there certainly is a place for art that doesn’t carry an explicit message and is open for interpretation. But it did leave me wondering if these performances would be even more powerful within some kind of context.

Pack ’em in, plenty of room!The greatest difficulty I had with the show was how tightly packed it was. There are no seats, so the audience stands while the performance takes place overhead and on a series of stages, platforms and large props that get wheeled out in the audience. The overhead pieces work fine, but when the crew has to move things into and through the packed house, the experience is less like theatre, and more like rush hour on the 6 train. While there’s nothing wrong with presenting a show in this fashion, especially when you are encouraging people to move with the music and interact with some of the performers, it seems at cross purposes to fill the house with so many people that movement is almost impossible. Only the most enthusiastic, intoxicated or inconsiderate people persisted with any effort to dance along, while the rest of us merely stood, often grimly, like livestock in a cattle car.

FuerzabrutaIn fairness, the show was sold out last night. Also I’m in a demographic that cherishes having a small bubble of personal space so that I may actually turn around when I wish. If there had been 10% fewer people, I would have enjoyed the show twice as much. Don’t even think of going if you are remotely claustrophobic, especially since they often lower things down on to the audience, effectively simulating a sardine experience for a good portion of the show. But if you like heavy mosh pit action, are a pickpocket, or are into frottage, this is definitely the show for you. Otherwise be prepared to put up with some discomfort and indignities in order to enjoy this bit of alternative theater sensory overload, which might have been better titled “Muchedumbre“.

Photos of Fuerzabruta taken from Icemomo.

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