Fuerza Bruta: Look Up Review

This past weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing the off-Broadway hit Fuerza Bruta: Look Up. I had seen plenty of ads for it on the subway and thought it was definitely of interest to me, but never quite committed any time to going. Luckily, my brother bought me tickets to a showing of Fuerza Bruta for my birthday.

The "running-man" crashing through a wall.

Right off the bat, I have to say this show probably isn’t for everyone. It is not your normal theater-going experience. For one, you will have to stand the entire time because the spectators and performers share the stage. I enjoyed this because there are points in the show where you get to interact with the performers and take part in their seemingly random dances and confetti-fests. The performers themselves are very friendly and want to get you involved. The “running-man” of the show, John Hartzell, even took a photo on stage with my girlfriend, who attended the show with me.

Also, you will be forced to move from place to place on the stage for changes in the set. This can be very uncomfortable because the stage crew will pack you and your fellow audience members together like sardines. At times this can detract from the experience of the show. It can also be discouraging to shorter audience members if they end up behind someone very tall. However, if you are a real New Yorker, you spend half your life standing around, side by side, with people you don’t know during commutes on the train or bus. I wasn’t bothered too much by this aspect of Fuerza Bruta, but if you think you may be, you have been warned.

As for the actual show, I have to admit there is nothing spectacular about it. The show doesn’t have any dialogue, though I’m positive I saw the performers shouting to each other every once in a while. However, whatever they were saying was drowned out by the loud, electro music that set the tone for the entire performance. The show also doesn’t have spectacular choreography for the portions that involve dancing. The dancing, in fact, basically involves the performers dancing and you dancing along with them.

Half of the time you will be watching a man in a white suit run, get shot, and attempt to continue running, crashing through walls and barriers along the way. The other half of the time you will watch an overheard pool, home to the spectacle of four performers who will swim, smash and stare at their onlookers imperviously, knowing there is a secure barrier between their fun and your wonder.

Performers in the overhead pool.

Despite the fact that Fuerza Bruta seems to be a hodge-podge of disconnected acts, I found the visual spectacle of it all very interesting. Without giving away too much, I will let you know that many bungee cords are involved; moving strobe lights illuminate the stage; performers will be as close as next to you and as far as the ceiling; smoke and confetti will cover the stage (and possibly you); you will get wet, and it can vary depending on how much you interact with the show. For the record, my girlfriend and I were soaked and it was exhilarating. Like I said, this is not your normal theater-going experience.

If you are looking to go out for an hour, dance, get pushed around, get wet, and watch an unexplainable show all at the same time, then this show is for you. I enjoyed it because watching Fuerza Bruta felt like being in a club that was conceived by Dali but run by Duchamp. It is quite artistic, from the music to the set to the pool to the performers and to the way all of those things mesh together. At the same time, however, the show achieves nothing (though a quick flip through the program will reveal that that is exactly what’s at work). I align the show with club-going because I think the type of people who will enjoy the show most are younger individuals who like to dance and party and bask in the nothingness that is achieved by doing so.

For students who are interested, a student discount is available for Fuerza Bruta showings during the Student Rush. The Student Rush occurs two hours before each show time and makes $25 tickets available to college students on a first-come, first-serve basis (actual price is $79). For more information about show times and Fuerza Bruta: Look Up, visit www.fuerzabrutanyc.com.

–Christopher Cusack, Hofstra University

Photo Credit: www.donhall.blogspot.com

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