Fuerza Bruta

Now playing at the Daryl Roth Theatre off-Broadway.

Does Fuerza Bruta mean anything? The title, to be sure, translates from the Spanish as “brute force,” but does the show itself have any particular meaning? It has its share of striking images—a man running to nowhere on a treadmill, a ceiling torn down in a flurry of confetti, a quartet of women immersed in the water of a shallow pool—but these don’t seem to add up to more than, perhaps, a meandering dream of escaping the malaise of everyday life.

But that’s probably enough. Fueled by manic energy, Fuerza Bruta isn’t about thinking but feeling. The plotless production features a dozen or so performers accompanied by the insistent beat of the DJ’s house music. They skitter through the air, crash through walls, dance with graceless but infectious verve, and eventually, in the show’s centerpiece, splash around a clear pool over the audience’s heads. The pool sequence is by far the most creative and memorable, as in between slip-and-slide antics, the show takes a few moments to be still. The performers peer down through water and Mylar, somehow appearing both embryonic and mermaid-like from the floor below. Later a dancer creates shimmering patterns of tiny fluttering waves. It’s beautiful.

Soon enough, though, everything cranks up again—music, strobe lights, raucous performers—until the small darkened room is like a tame intergenerational rave, with everyone in attendance bouncing up and down and the DJ spraying the entire room with a fine sheen of cool water. If you stop to think about it too hard, it’s all pretty silly, but if you just go along with it, grinning as the treadmill-cursed man finally makes it up the stairs, Fuerza Bruta is exciting and fun and strangely sweet.

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