Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fantastic dreams of slosh and strife

My friend Doug had an unexpected extra theater ticket Friday night. I got the call at 10 pm. I was draped across the couch, rather brain dead from the work week. Very noisy around him. "Hey Claudia, this is Doug, Binnie's daughter is sick, we have an extra ticket to this percussion show, it's down at Union Square, show at 10:30." Doug lives on Long Island and probably doesn't know it is a temporal space-time rule that any location in Manhattan cannot be reached in less than 30 minutes by any means. Then Binnie (who is a poet) took the cell phone, told me to hurry, and said the ticket would be waiting for me at the box office and to wear comfortable shoes, it is a standing audience.

What was I going to experience? Big drums and a mosh pit?

I took a cab to Union Square where a big old neoclassical bank has been turned into a theater since I last worked, ages ago, in the down at heels offices of literary publisher Farrar Strauss & Giroux. The only thing the same about Union Square seems to be the drab building I once worked in, everything else has transmogrified through money and use. I just didn't realize how much until I entered the former bank.

Loud booming noises and a series of arrows lead me to the box office of the Roth Theater and up some stairs past the gents room into...

Fuerzabruta. Or "Brute Force" in English. Here is the trailer on youTube. It involves not one but two suspended pools--including one that descends to inches above the audience's heads and I placed my hands on the clear mylar and felt the bodies slide by above me. There are spinning walls with horizontal running acrobats, sets that are destroyed by the athletic actors wearing casual work clothing, walls that runners smash through, flashing lights, thumping music that felt like it was taking over my breathing, hour of this kinetic dream like chase scene done by the same Argentinian group that created De La Guarda. The audience was herded about, encouraged to interact, and spritzed with confetti and water. The show is stunning, one gapes, the themes easy to read into, rather cirque de soleil except the audience is in the center ring with the performers, rather like a mob of timid mice experiencing Queen Mab's dream madness...

So yes, a bit like a mosh pit. We sipped and recovered in a Starbucks and Doug and Binnie had wet hair, they had enthusiastically joined in while I hovered on the edges with Doug's daughter Hilly. On the way back to the upper west side with Hilly, who goes to Barnard, we enthusiastically talked about our love of speculative fiction and the dream state--the meditative out of body experience--of reading a good book. Plus you don't get wet that way.

No comments: