Brute force

When is a show not a show? When experiential extravaganzas like Fuerza come to town.

Brute Force (photo credit: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)
Brute Force
(photo credit: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)
If it’s a quiet night at the theater, nestled in a comfy seat that you’re after, Fuerza Bruta is probably not the show for you. There will be no opportunities to inconspicuously nod off during this performance. In fact, you won’t even be offered a chair. The newest hit from the Argentinean creators of De La Guarda, Fuerza Bruta is an energizing experience for all participants, be it on stage or in the crowd.
Opening in early February for a two-week run in Tel Aviv, the show promises a highly charged sensory experience. Their visit in Israel will mark a new stop in a five-year tour that has conquered America, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, England and many others. Orange, which will offer reduced ticket prices to its customers for the first 11 of the 27 shows during this engagement, has invited the show to Israel. For the first two weeks of the month, Fuerza Bruta will take over the Maxi-Dome at the Convention Center, turning it into a hi-tech playground for 13 very skilled performers and the enormous stage crew.
Fuerza Bruta, which means “brute force” in Spanish, is the latest in a performance genre that has taken the theater world by storm in recent years. Previous knowledge or love for theater is not required to enjoy these performances. What is vital is a sense of adventure.
Shows like Stomp, Blue Man Group and Momentum by Mayumana are all members of this clan. Unlike many of their peers on Broadway, these productions demand that the audience wear comfortable shoes, dance to the music and make contact with the performers. In the case of Fuerza Bruta, even the shyest audience member will be coaxed out of his or her shell by one of the actor/dancers.
The show was developed in Buenos Aires and went on to inhabit the former De La Guarda space in Union Square. Within what seemed like minutes of opening its doors in New York, Fuerza Bruta was a smash hit. Invitations began flooding in to tour, thus catapulting the cast and crew of the show on an Around the World in Eighty Days like adventure.
What creators Diqui James and Gabi Kerpel hope to instill in the audience is a state of shock. Surprise, in the eyes of the Fuerza Bruta crew, is not a special effect but rather a real element in this show. The audience is not warned when the set suddenly changes to create a new space or when the scene shifts and picks up speed.
They are kept on the tips of their toes, which is exactly where James and Kerpel want them. The props are not props, the set is not a set, and the dances are not dances. Everything is flipped on its head, creating the ultimate abstract reality. Original music by Gabi Kerpel keeps the flow of the piece going from the first moment to the last.
There are several visual elements that make this production unique. Water is one of them. At various points in the performances, large amounts of water are splashed around the “stage,” reaching the performers and the audience (so don’t wear anything that can’t get wet). There is also a strong sensual element to this work, which plays out in various moments when scantily clad performers shimmy by within arm’s reach of the crowd.
Though there are characters and a plot progression in Fuerza Bruta, looking for a message may leave you baffled. In the words of the directors of Fuerza Bruta, “Since its creation, no one knows the meaning of the work because it doesn’t have one.” Each audience member is welcome to interpret the story or lack thereof as they please.
Fuerza Bruta will run from February 2-18 at the Max-Dome in the Tel Aviv Convention Center. For more information and tickets, visit