“Fuerzabruta” is an experience, not a show.
You don’t have to be high on shrooms or LSD to enjoy this show. You don’t have to be a certain age. You don’t even need to understand it. You just have to be able to stand for seventy minutes, look up, and experience.
From the Argentine creators of “De La Guarda,” (1993-2006) the theatre production “Fuerzabruta” NYC has the same idea: creativity and experiment. So much creativity, in fact, you will probably never see anything like it again, except in a dream. That’s what it is: a happy dream.
The word “Fuerzabruta” translates into “brutal force” in English. Have you ever had a brutal dream, where everything and anything in it is so vivid that all the sounds and characters just POP out at you? At the same time, have you ever had a dream, where everything and anything in it makes no logical sense, yet it’s so real?
Make sure you get to the Daryl Roth Theatre ten minutes before the show so you have time to maybe get a few drinks at the bar. Not that you need alcohol to enhance the club mood, just know the option is available. Once you get ushered into the theatre, you are told to begin standing in the middle of the stage (where you’ll eventually be moved around, and you’ll always get a great view). It’s a club atmosphere. The room is empty, dark, with minor colorful lighting.
But once it starts, you forget you’re standing all that time, you forget your neck might hurt later, and you might even forget you’ve gotten a little wet. By the way, there are ways to avoid the water. Just make sure you dress accordingly.
The magical performance starts out with a serious man portraying a white collar gentleman walking down a street (on a treadmill) walking, then running, then getting wet, then getting passed by other pedestrians-from intervals of frustration and discouragement to moments of composure and peacefulness.
There is no plot. That’s what the creator Diqi James wished for all along. His intention was to portray life as a discovery of time and space.
“Fuerzabruta” is most effective in representing experience by not having any spoken word throughout. If there were words exchanged, it would have ruined it. Words give meaning to things. The best way to show experience is through rhythmic vibrations, stomping, impulsively dancing to the beat of the drums, and idiosyncratic screaming.
Embrace all your senses: sight, sound, feel, smell. Don’t get alarmed when you get paper thrown from the sky at you. Embrace it. Don’t get alarmed when George Washington starts playing thumping techno music as a DJ! Embrace it. Embrace life and all its chaos.
The performers appear to be happy for most of the show. They run along the ceilings. They dance. They interact with the audience. They drop down from the water ceiling to greet you, to kiss you. Most importantly, they make you happy.
And whether you like it or not, you’re always looking up.