Walking out of the multi-media, audience-participatory Argentinean extravaganza Hombre Vertiente Monday night at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv, I was reminded of the deadpan monologue Bill Murray gave as Jeff, Dustin Hoffman’s play-writing roommate in the film Tootsie.
“I don’t like it when people come up to me after my plays and say, ‘I really dug your message, man.’ Or, ‘I really dug your play, man, I cried’... I like it when people come up to me... and they say, ‘I saw your play. What happened?’” Called a journey into the human mind, the hour-long performance was devised by Argentine director Pinchón Baldinu, who incorporates tribal acrobatics by daredevil dancers, thumping electronic music, a small sea of squirting water, as well as a giant dancing dragon.
The audience can sit in “dry” bleachers as spectators, or stand on the floor and become a “wet” part of the show, as the performers at times literally emerge right next to you or swing overhead with water spraying in all directions. It’s not for the faint of heart.
As entertaining and “trippy” as the performance was – along the lines of a lower-rent Fuerza Bruta – there was a sense that much of the spectacle was simply an excuse for sensory overload – water, noise, lights and chaos.
It was difficult to follow an story line – aside from a general “man vs the elements” theme, and whenever one of the highly creative scenes seemed to be losing steam, the fallback was simply more water.
But if you’re not afraid of a little water fun, loud noises and getting pushed around a bit, it’s not such a bad trip. The show is continuing through February 20.