I had somehow never heard of this show until I read about it on a blog I follow recently! I IMMEDIATELY added it to my bucket list! It looked positively mesmerising! She put spoiler alerts in, so I guess I should warn you that I’m detailing the full show too… But for me-this is what inspired me to go any way-though I didn’t read the blog in entirety before going.
The show is described by Fuerza Bruta as follows:
A non-stop collision of dynamic music, visceral emotion, and kinetic aerial imagery. Featuring mind–blowing visual effects that must be seen to be believed – a man running full throttle through a series of moving walls, women frolicking in a watery world suspended just inches above the audience – FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP is a theatrical experience that floods the senses. Come experience a 360° heart-pounding theatrical experience!
I took the following film footage of the show. The only thing I managed to miss in the video is the point where aerial performers dropped out of holes in ‘the bubble’ on zip wires and proceeded to hoist unsuspecting spectators up onto the top.
‘Fuerza bruta’ literally translates as ‘brute force’, and one can see why. This experience is a passionate assault on all of the senses, barring taste, and borders on sensory overload. Not constrained by classical narrative: the only common thread throughout the show is the man in the white suit, running on the treadmill. It’s subjective and open to interpretation in it’s postmodern metaphorical representation of the struggles of man and his stresses in modern everyday life-as he is forced to smash through walls and obstacles that are thrown his way. He even gets shot in the chest!
No matter how fast he runs, the fact that he was running on a treadmill, meant that he’d never arrive at his destination; merely running out his entire ‘life’ battling to stay there, or thereabouts. It was a little disconcerting in this way. Beyond this one common thread that punctuated the show, it was hard to piece together what the rest of the show was intended to represent, as it was fairly abstract… Perhaps his dreams (he did lay on a bed at one point momentarily, though you could have blinked and missed it), or perhaps his vision of what life ‘should’ or ‘could’ be? …I’m not sure to be honest, and I don’t much care either really-I was too busy absorbing it all on an experiential level to pause and dissect the narrative. I don’t think anyone was too caught up in trying to decipher a plot. This 70 minute, standing only, show felt like it lasted about 10-15 minutes as the audience were so enrapt in the beauty and artistic pleasure it delivered.
Favourite moments include:
The suspended pool that dropped from the ceiling:
The Wall Dancers:
Watching Leila’s Face as the Bubble was passed over our heads
The Suited Man struggling against the Bubble:
The Dancers who Burst out of a Trailer and smashed polystyrene blocks filled with confetti over members of the audience
The Aerial Performers Snatching Spectators out of The Bubble
The massive feeling of euphoria generated in the audience by the performers
It’s a visual, aural, physical feast for the senses-not the sort of performance you can appreciate by standing on the periphery. It’s an all-or-nothing, fully immersive and participatory experience; an outing, an event, and a rampant metaphor of the futility of all human endeavour and existence.
The live music is an eclectic mish-mash of different genres ranging from Argentinian/Brazillian-carnival, African-tribal, electronica and techno music-all blended into one rhythmical treat that had the audience dancing and partying like they were at a rave in places. A DJ is wheeled out at one point near the end, and the audience are drenched from a shower of mist he fires from a cannon and the pounding music seizes hold the audience and transforms them into revellers at a rave! A shower starts up from the ceiling and though this was avoidable (and we did have to avoid it, as we had a long walk to the car in frigid -2°C temperatures back to our car at 11:30pm) I watched those who were partaking with envy, as they looked so liberated in their trance like rain dancing.
The roundhouse is an epic venue for this show, and added to the disorientation. By the end of the show, I had completely lost my sense of direction, as we had been herded from pillar to post-as sets, rigs and even a crane invaded the audience space and we were forced to create a space for them.
If you’re planning to be one of the selected few that get hoisted onto the bubble, it’s important that you stand near the holes in the bubble, and have no bags or loose items, as it was clear that participants were selected carefully with this in mind… I was close to the lucky drop zone, but didn’t stand a chance for this reason.
My overwhelming memory is of pure wonderment. I felt like a child at Disney World. People who criticise this show (and there are some out there), are in my opinion lacking in imagination and a sense of fun. Don’t expect Shakespeare or Dickens, definitely don’t wear high heels and go with your sense of fun wide open… I imagine that this has to be the closest you can get to experiencing an acid trip without actually taking LSD!
If you think you might like to buy tickets after reading this-GOOD LUCK! It’s sold out in London, and off to Moscow next. Hopefully they’ll re-tour again. This is the second time they have been to London Roundhouse, and they toured with De La Guarda prior to that. I still cannot believe this is the first I heard of it!
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