Fuerzabruta!

With just one week left in this Big Apple I am going to squeeze in as many “New York” reviews as possible. I have the opportunity to review a few more shows before I become a Southern gal again, and you better believe I’m jumpin’ on em’. My most recent night of entertainment was spent with Zoey at the crazy Off-Broadway show, Fuerzabruta!

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When we arrived, I honestly I had no clue what this show was about. I was shocked when I looked at my tickets and saw the words “standing space”…as in no seats. We clamored into a large room with about 70 other people all huddled in the middle of the room. There were bright lights, tons of fog and no sign of a stage. Before the performance began, a loud voice came over a loudspeaker to announce that we must move when asked, no sitting is allowed, but we are free to take as many photos and videos as we want! I’ve never been to a show that encouraged photography so I was only equipped with my iPhone. Boo.

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Fuerzabruta means “brute force” in Spanish, and that’s pretty much the only thing I know about the meaning of this show. While watching the performance I found myself thinking, “How the hell am I going to describe this? I have no clue what is happening!” When the show began there was a man in a white coat running on what can only be described as a giant treadmill, he was shot at one point, the walls turned to giant sheets of foil and their were two women dancing and flipping sideways down the wall as rave-like music played and the room filled up with smoke. Zoey and I began wishing we arrived early enough to buy a cocktail…or two…and perhaps taken a Xanax. (I typically don’t believe in arriving anywhere early.)

We tried to stick to the outside of the crowd, but we were quickly attacked by the giant flowing foil wall.
We tried to stick to the outside of the crowd, but we were quickly attacked by the giant flowing foil wall.

Ten minutes in, I wanted to curl into a ball and close my eyes. However, every few minutes it got a bit better. The gunshots stopped, the wall dancing went away and I was able to focus on some fun dancers in front of me. There were performers walking through the audience grabbing random audience members (me included!). From this point, the show just got better and better.

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As hard as I tried, I couldn’t find a storyline to follow. The treadmill scenes reminded me of the phrase “being stuck on the conveyor belt”, but other than that, nothing. It was just a big production with wild dance scenes, acrobats and swimming on the ceiling.

*stole this photo*
*stole this photo*

That’s right, at one point the ceiling transformed to a thin clear plastic floor with a very shallow pool of water. The women performers then performed a wet and wild routine of dancing, sliding and jumping around in the water as the floor tilted from side to side, forcing them to slide around the floor/ceiling. The thin floor was also able to lower itself to just a few inches above our heads! We could actually touch the floor and feel the dancers. They began recklessly running over us and body slamming into the floor causing uproars of applause and lots of oohs and awws.

There was a middle-age woman behind me, who kept insisting she was hallucinating…”This can’t be real! I swear I’m really hallucinating this!”

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It was an amazing sight, but I found myself feeling envious that I couldn’t join them. Imagine being ten years old and watching your friends slip-and-slide from the other side of a gate, barely out of reach. I wanted to play with them so badly! I attempted to get some videos, but missed the best scenes because I never wanted to look away.

Once the show was over, and the performers took their final bow, the party started. They made us clear a circle in the middle of the floor and then it began raining from the ceiling! They stood in the rain for a second, then began encouraging everyone to join them and dance! The DJ went nuts and everyone began having a dance party! It was awesome. We didn’t partake in the rain because it was only 8pm and we had places to be and still look presentable, but I’d love to go back and dance the night away!

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I suggest seeing this show with a group of fun girlfriends or with a fun date, someone willing to dance in the rain and have a good time!

Cheers!

The Blue Men

Several years ago in Orlando, Husband, myself and his family saw the Blue Man Group in Orlando. We LOVED the show as much as we loved Cirque! The Blue Men are mysterious, multi-talented, AND hilarious! I’m not even sure where to begin when describing their show… It’s unlike anything else. Husband and I were lucky enough to get a second chance to see these Men, but this time in NYC!

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The first thing we learned at the New York performance is that it is very similar to the show in Orlando. It was definitely updated; it had 7 foot tall iPhone looking props (they call them GiPads), and the theme was heavily focused on technology. The creepy blue bald men with crazy eyes and no voices seemed identical to the Men we’d previously seen. How they manage to relay so much emotion and tell so many stories without talking is very impressive. I assume all the Blue Men shows are fairly similar, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are not many Blue Men shows in the world, so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to see them. We had a blast at both shows and enjoyed seeing our favorite stunts and scenes again.

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The quote displayed at the beginning of the show sets the tone for the performance:

“If you would like to establish a connection with people from another culture is it always good to offer a few gifts as a gesture of friendship. But, an even better way to forge a lasting bond is by creating something together. Whether it’s a meal, an art project, or just a spontaneous dance party, when you create with others, you build a connection that lasts a lifetime.”

I LOVE this quote! It’s genius! It’s also what the Group tries to do with their show. They are constantly including the audience in each scene, and even though they do not speak they manage to communicate with their expressive eyes and ridiculous actions.

The Blue Men are most famous for drumming on barrels that are topped with bright-colored paints. This is definitely one of the most memorable parts of their performance, but they offer so much more. I particularly love the part where one of them manages to catch about 30 large marshmallows in his mouth at once, and then proceeds to spit it out as a sculpture. Husbands loves the finale, which includes giant glowing 3-dimensional creatures and tons and tons of toilet paper streamers. However, there are also, hilarious skits, audience participation and some award-winning original rock music from their band.

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The one major theme of the show is that technology can often become overwhelming. We are in a world were it not only necessary, but expected to multi-task. They bring this to your attention by forcing you to read three different “GiPad” screens at once. The Blue Men have always brought technology to the forefront, but their recent theme seems to suggest that it isn’t always a good thing. No matter the theme, we spent a lot of time lol’ing at their hilarity.

The theatre in the East Village is intimate and underground, at least partially. We were really surprised to be sitting in the balcony, and still be about 30 feet from the stage. They manage to do a lot in the small space, but the real plus is that every seat is a good one!

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I left the show thinking two things: 1) Do I have an unhealthy addiction to technology and social media? 2) How on Earth do they clean this mess every night!?

Buy your tix and see if the tour is headed near you here!

Cheers!

 

Women of Will

Husband and I went on lots of dates last week (trying to make up for lost time and future time apart). One night we headed to the West Village to checkout and review the off-broadway show Women of Will

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Tina Packer is the creative genius behind this wild feminine ride through Shakespeare’s plays. This enthusiastic lady has studied and taught Shakespeare for most of her life (She is the former artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts), and her passion for all things William is evident from the moment she opens her mouth. The play is a five-part series that takes you through The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale and many many more! The only catch is that each “part” is a different play. For example we saw Part 1: The Warrior Women, from Violence to Negotiation.

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Going into the show we were very nervous. It is located in the gym of Judson Memorial Church The seats consist of fold out chairs and cushions on the floor. The set consisted of an Oriental rug, some lights and scaffolding. I don’t mean to sound snooty, like good shows can only be performed in enormous glamorous theaters…I know that’s not true. However, we were worried the first line of the show would be “Why don’t you like me!?”

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It was not a one woman show. A man, Nigel Gore, performs with Tina, but it definitely has the ‘one-woman show’ feel to it. Tina’s goal is to present the women of William Shakespeare and explore how they evolve, and how Shakespeare’s writing evolves, through the history of his plays.

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The performance is half lecture – half theatre. It consists of 5 minute skits, and a discussion following each skit. What I find most impressive is the actors’ ability to switch so quickly and effortlessly from casual chats with the audience to dramatic Elizabethan characters. They are very talented, intelligent and have the ability to relate with their audience.

Overall, I have very mixed feelings about this show. I would have enjoyed it most as a student. Thanks to my senior English teacher and Humanities teacher I studied enough Shakespeare to appreciate his works and continued studying him in college, so I really appreciated learning about the development of the women in his plays. However, I was not in the mood to be a “student” on Friday night. The lectures were all a bit too long, and I longed for more acting. Husband wanted to bolt immediately. He agrees that the acting is good, and the information interesting, but not his cup of tea AT ALL.

Even though both Tina and Nigel were great actors, it was hard to imagine them as so many different characters, and of very different age ranges. Sometimes, I was just getting pulled into a dramatic scene, and it would be abruptly interrupted for another spiel.

Any fan of Shakespeare will adore this play, but I’m not sure if non-fans will appreciate what Tina and her team have to offer. The audience consisted of all adults, most whom were taking notes. Yes, notes..during a play. There was also a very grumpy older woman next to us who complained about the man who snorted while laughing next to her (to his face), and treated us like criminals for eating candy. We were probably the least serious people in the audience.

Women of Will is running through May 26th and you can purchase you tickets here. If you see it, I’d love to know what you think!

Cheers!

A Christmas Carol in the Village

Over the weekend, Husband and I had the pleasure of seeing A Christmas Carol at the Player’s Theatre in Greenwich Village. I was pretty pumped to see a Christmas play, especially such a classic one, so we hopped on a train to the artsy side of town. The theatre is located between several little bars and restaurants, but it was impossible to miss, thanks to the carolers.

It was refreshing to hear Christmas carols as we made our way to the theatre.
It was refreshing to hear Christmas carols as we made our way to the theatre.

Literally Alive is this really awesome and creative children’s theatre company that encourages reading by bringing books to life through art, dance, music and puppetry. Don’t you love them already? A Christmas Carol is playing five times a week until December 30th.

The theatre itself was small and cozy (every seat is a good one). It had a very neighborhood feel as we entered, checked in, and a friendly woman showed us to our seats. In fact, it felt like a very specific neighborhood…my favorite fictitious neighborhood, Stars Hollow.

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Everything about the theatre and show made me feel like I had stepped into an episode of Gilmore Girls. The costumes looked like Lorelei’s handiwork. Luke obviously built the set. The choreography was all Miss Patty. Kirk probably directed the show and starred as Ebenezer Scrooge. I swear even Babette was sitting right behind me! I could not have been happier.

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The play began with two funny actors who welcomed us with dramatic British accents and excellent comedic timing. The actress who greeted us turned out to be our favorite out of the entire show. Just look at all of her facial expressions!

She was hilarious.
She was hilarious.

The music and sound effects were all performed by three percussionist who not only played the score, but used various props to replicate specific sounds, like the chains of Jacob Marley.

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The show is meant for children so we expected the silly jokes and familiar songs, but it wasn’t all puppies and snowflakes. The ghost of “Christmas Yet to Come” had me shakin’ in my boots as he floated across the dark stage. I suppose that is the point of this last ghost though.

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The show was a perfect combination of cheesy and charming. When it ended the entire cast lined the aisles to wish us a “Merry Christmas” and “God bless us, every one!” It was impossible to leave without feeling cheerful. We literally wakled to the train singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas! (We are also the perfect combination of cheesy and charming.)

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If you are interested in seeing A Christmas Carol you can buy tickets here. It is playing at the Players Theatre  at 115 MacDougal St. Also, every 11am show includes a free one-hour interactive arts workshop where everyone learns how the show was created.

Big thanks to Literally Alive for sponsoring this post!

Enjoy the show!

Cheers!