Monday, March 12, 2012

Fuerza Bruta : Look Up

Since mid-February, almost every lifestyle column or event blog was abuzz and raving about Fuerzabruta, an interactive show that originated from Argentina and is currently being staged at a make-shift tent within the grounds of the Manila Hotel until March 26. Hailed as a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience, locals who caught the show were quick to throw words like "amazing, "trippy" and "mindblowing" to describe it, and so like any other curious, entertainment section-reading individual who bought into the hype, I decided to go and do a look-see last Tuesday not knowing that there was such a thing as a Girls' Night version (sigh*). 

Anyway, the show started promptly at 8p.m. but since I arrived thirty minutes early, I was able to down the first of two complimentary drinks that came with the arguably expensive ticket price. As for the actual show, people were led to a dark room where they were expected to move around under the watchful eye of stagehands as the performers moved from one side of the venue to the other. 

Going by the promotional material, audiences were encouraged to clap, cheer, shout and dance to this [supposedly] 360-degree spectacle that fused heart-thumping techno music with hyper-kinetic dancing, aerial stunts and psychedelic (dare I say psychotropic?) visuals. 

The show in itself was different from your usual sit-down theatrical event, it was gimmicky and avant garde, however, I highly doubt that there's a deeper meaning or message that was supposed to be imparted. From what I've seen, Fuerza Bruta appears to have been designed to break through the confines of language and culture by encouraging everybody to participate, celebrate and even get slightly wet under seizure-inducing strobe lights in a performance art extravaganza that more or less doubled as a rave party with a time-limit.

One of the highlights of the show was the part where people craned their necks to see female performers frolic and glide across a shallow hanging pool that slowly descended and hovered about a foot over our heads. They created ripples, formed silhouettes, and teased the audience through a tough yet thin layer of plastic that in turn showcased the diaphanous fabric that barely covered their figures. Now of all the acts presented, this one came quite close to achieving that dreamy, other-worldly atmosphere...that is until you start noticing all the oggling and "interactive" pawing that came about it.   

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I spent the whole hour in awe of the seemingly senseless and whimsical activities before me whilst trying to avoid eye contact with the performers who, from time to time, would roam around and induce people to dance in a frenzy and/or smash styropor boxes of tissue-confetti on some random guy's head. So between sidestepping soggy [toilet or Japanese?] paper and trying to figure out how all the sequences to this production fit in with the man on the treadmill, I couldn't help but feel duped. Had I read  Charles Isherwood's theater review, I would have thought twice about rushing off to see it.

Fuerza Bruta is the kind of show that requires an open-minded audience---in particular, the highly excitable and free-wheeling type that wouldn't mind staying up on a weeknight. It has a concept that would no doubt appeal to young, hip, party-goers who chase after fads or else, not-so-young, slightly inebriated individuals who chugged enough alcohol or gogo juice to dive into this short (55 minutes to be exact), not-so magical, mystery tour. 

Was it a unique, one of a kind experience? 

For sure. It assaulted my senses with brute force but as one act gave way to another, its overall impact drastically weakened with the passing of the hour. At the end of it all,  let's just say that I was more than happy to get home, hit the sack and have my own weird dream without having to be in a room full of strangers.

Photos by Niña Palileo, amateur photographer/videographer. 
Images taken during the actual show held last 9 March 2012 at the Manila Hotel Tent.


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