Fuerza Bruta: Look Up
At the Auditorium Theatre Chicago
Let me tell you how the evening works. You should arrive about 30 minutes prior to the showtime, which allows you an opportunity to get into the “club” mood. Yes, you will feel that you are indeed at a club, so dress casual and ladies, wear flats, because once you are ushered onto the stage, you will spend the next 65 minutes on your feet and in some cases dancing up a storm. The lobby of the Auditorium has been transformed into a club with lighted tables and a full bar. You can even purchase some wonderful Empenadas ( try the sweet onion. It is to die for and only $3.00). As it gets closer to “showtime”, you are led onto the stage where you are instructed where it is okay to stand. There are several STAFF members who will make sure that you know where to go and when, thus you are always safe to enjoy the activity of this memorable experience and height doesn’t get in the way because most of the action is placed UP! Fuerza Bruta means Break Free, and this is what we the audience get to do as we watch the performers tell their stories. Reality, the world we just came from no longer exists ( at least for the next 65 minutes) as we get caught up in the action and music of this spectacular presentation. The visual effects that we see are indeed mind-blowing and the performers are in great shape. They would have to be to do what they do. Their energy carries into the crowd as well and those of us in the audience who want to experience the “rush” can while others just look on in amazement. We see a man running for his life- he gets shot, but keeps on running and gets shot again. He is running on a giant treadmill and runs through walls as well as people and even furniture- he is trying to escape the world that has become to small and close. He needs to break out.
There are other scenes that bring this same story to the stage. A party in a small apartment, allowing no room for the party guests to dance and let it all out causes them to toss the furniture over the balcony and then break out the walls and ceiling giving them the freedom to be themselves and dance. They come into the audience section and dance with us ( at least those who desire to dance) and in other scenes we see the same story, but in different ways. As I said earlier, this is a total departure from theatrical convention. There is no scripted story and the music composed by Gaby Kerpel is the sort of music one would expect at a late night club. The ten performers, 5 male, 5 female are trained to play each of the roles and do. In fact, each performance, they are advised who is doing which part in order to allow for the preparation, both physical and mental. They all tell the same stories (based on the creative works of Diqui James), but each in their own way through their own interpretation. We see two women tumbling and dancing on a wall made of fabric sideways, more treadmill running, with three people instead of one and more wall crashing. We have wild club lighting as well as theatrical and the DJ in the booth above has the ability to spray us with a fine mist of water, several times.One of the major scenes in this story takes place directly overhead in a Mylar tank of water. Four of the women do a water ballet with some great slip n’ slide activities as well. They are also breaking out, leaving reality behind as they enter this special world. While we watch them do their thing, the tank is lowered so that we can see their faces in the water and place the palms of our hands on the tank and they do likewise.
By the time the clock runs out, the audience is highly energized and so even after the performers and staff take their bows, they jump into the crowd and continue to dance with those audience members who have burst out as well. As we leave the theater, we are given a program so that we have something to remember this experience by, but it isn’t truly over as there is still music and lights in the lobby and while some people went to the bar for a drink others, who have made some new friends during this experience are dancing a bit in the lobby. The night is still young, the energy is high and I would imagine that many of the 880 people who were on the stage for this spectacular evening were looking for a place to continue the evening. This is indeed a night to remember and you only have until July 25th to do so ( although I have a feeling this will be extended. After all it has been running in New York for years, and Chicago is a much better theater town). I would like to take a moment to praise the ten performers, Martin Buzzo, John Hartzell ( who I had the pleasure of interviewing last week), Nazarena Mon, Marcello Curotti,Jeslyn Kelly, Lucia Penalva, Debora Torres,Gabriela Gomez, Tamara Levinson and Eugenia Schilling. All powerful performers.