Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Fuerza Bruta

Saw Fuerza Bruta: Look Up last night. It is an amazing and incredible show. The audience and performers are all on the stage. In many ways it much more like a really good and incredible night at a dance club than my sense of theater. It was odd to be lead up to the stage and see the Auditorium theater empty, and for a moment to look out from the stage up into the seats of the theater. The Auditorium theater was not built for this sort of thing. If you were to design something for this type of theater I guess you'd design some combination of a warehouse club space and the stage of a theater.

The show opens with light and wind coming from either side of the stage alternately and then appears a man walking on a conveyor belt set on a raised piece of staging. A series of events unrelated but related in a dream like sort of way transpire as the man runs and walks, gets shot, passes through crowds, sits at a restaurant, sleeps, carries his own bed. The rest of the show had women on harness walking and somersaulting on a shiny curtains, and a point where the actors interacted with the audience hitting some people over the head with "boards" of Styrofoam and confetti, that lead into a dance party overseen by a DJ in powdered wig and military coat whose appearance conjured up images of George Washington. So a George Washington DJ. The Show concluded with four women cavorting in a shallow pool of water made of some form of clear plastic suspended overhead. We watched them from below.

The show meandered through dream scape, interactive happening, dance party and circus spectacle. Nothing that I saw I had seen done before, and the special effects the technical aspects, the endurance and performance were all flawless and amazing. All seemed oriented toward evoking emotion and having an immersion experience without referent. On the other hand I also felt that it was simply an extension not so much of a performance art piece or Theater, but of the night club. Over all take way the technical aspects of the special effects and the overall experience emotively was that of a very good and special night at a Goth club. But then in this I am looking for more than the creators intend as the playbill essentially discourages looking for a meaning, though it also seeks to interpret itself as simple reality.

As amazing as the show was I am in the end disappointed. Disappointed not in what it was which was amazing but in that it failed to be the more it could have been. The style of theater lends itself to comparison with the Blue Man Group, which I think is a fair comparison in term of genre, if one can apply a genre to either performance theater group. When I saw the Blue Man Group I left the theater seeing the world differently, the buildings and streets I had walked just 2 hours before were the same but i saw them differently. I saw Kate differently, and I looked at my life and seminary differently(I was at North Park Theological Seminary at the time). With Fuerza Bruta I was to experience my self in relation to what was going on. There was nothing outside, nothing other than a sequences of experiences in imitation of a dream (which don't get me wrong is pretty cool in and of itself, but that is all it is) that means nothing and thus changes nothing and asks me only to see the world and myself as I have always seen the world and myself. Or worse it asks me to escape myself and the world and how i see the world for the moment we were enclosed on the stage.

Fuerza Bruta is meaningless. It showed us bodies without meaning, a desert of life in stark beauty, momentary emotions and fleeting experiences. It was decadence devoid of any and all transcendence and it was an amazing experience. I am no different for the experience and it is fading rapidly in my memory as this day has passed. It is an empty experience a desert of artifice. And despite the insistence of the playbill that there can be reality with out referent and interpretation, it was not real, but an exercise in futility, a dream without symbol. That might be the very point, a celebration of the decay of symbol and meaning as what is "real". Such a view of the world and art and theater is for me in the end then without life.