Art & Culture

Fuerza Bruta: 3 Reasons Why You Should See It In Tokyo

Huddled together behind a four-wall curtain with other curious spectators, the room buzzes with excitement as lights, music and even the air rushes to meet you. A feeling of anticipation continues to build as the air starts to lift and then separate the fabric walls penning you in. Suspense continues to build just as the lively chatter around me rises and people’s faces are momentarily illuminated by strobe lights, their mouths and eyes wide open, filled with wonder.

Fuerza Bruta Wa! Wonder Japanese Experience, the Japan interpretation of the world-renowned Argentinian show, was just about to begin — and I was there together with hundreds of other excited fans to finally see it. If you haven’t yet seen this show, here are three reasons why you should buy your tickets now.

© Photo by ©Keiko Tanabe

1. You can see the Japan-inspired show only in Tokyo

Since its Buenos Aires debut over 15 years ago, Fuerza Bruta has impressed audiences around the world with its eclectic mix of theater, acrobatics and live performance. It’s cleverly packaged into an interactive experience that strives to be truly immersive, registering on almost every sensory level.

Now it’s Tokyo’s turn to welcome the latest version of this Argentinian theatrical treat — one with a distinct Japanese flavor.

For the Tokyo show, Wa! Wonder Japanese Experience, Fuerza Bruta’s creator and director Diqui James has cleverly interpreted various aspects of Japanese history and culture. He’s aptly conveyed these elements through the show’s usual inimitable style of performance using a highly talented and passionate cast — both local and Argentinian.

© Photo by ©Keiko Tanabe

Moving from the staging area, your attention is immediately drawn to two huge noh theater masks looming over the main stage while taiko drummers fuse their rhythms to techno-infused beats, drawing people in and keeping the energy high.

At this point, you may feel like the action is about to happen right in front of the gathering crowd, like theater-goers waiting for a play to start. You would be wrong.

Fuerza Bruta involves the audience with a refreshingly innovative format — it’s sophisticated without being overly quirky or gimmicky. 

When asked about the inspiration behind bringing Fuerza Bruta to Japan, James comments that Japan has been on his radar since he was a young boy hearing fascinating stories from his grandparents who were amazed at the unique culture and people they met during their travels here long ago. This connection led him to spend 10 years researching and planning the show, traveling across Japan to experience the country for himself, ultimately allowing him to distil disparate Japanese elements into a 70-minute spectacle.

© Photo by ©Keiko Tanabe

While chatting with the show’s producer Kazuki Takatoh, he explained that the show themes and storyline remain somewhat of a mystery and that James prefers the audience to interpret the story in their own way. Regardless, its creatively interpreted, striking and unique display of Japanese themes draws you into an intimate theater experience where the audience is a part of the action. 

2. It’s filled with unique interpretations of Japanese culture

As the show begins, a cluster of performers swings back and forth above the audience, their faces beaming to greet and welcome everyone to the show. An elevated samurai dressed all in white runs for his life on a centered stage, adding a twist to the traditional “running man” sequence for which Fuerza Bruta is famed. When the samurai warrior disappears, he is replaced with beautifully presented geisha who glide around the stage as if walking on air. They impress with their ghost-like moves before our samurai returns. Still dressed in white, he continues to battle more obstacles culminating in a showdown with an enemy dressed in black. When the clash is over, the ceiling slowly begins to move toward the crowd. Faces and reaching hands move closer, and soon enough reach the audience…

© Photo by ©Keiko Tanabe

The rest of the show needs to be seen to be believed, but Fuerza Bruta involves the audience with a refreshingly innovative format — it’s sophisticated without being overly quirky or gimmicky. 

3. It involves spectators at another level… and even lets them join in

What happens next is a blur, but involves explosions from overhead, pink, purple and orange paper, water showers and kimono-clad performers dancing upside down on the roof. Following the chaos, a calm tranquil melody is introduced while the ceiling scrim changes yet again, this time into a platform of water. This floating liquid body becomes a see-through-stage that’s lowered so the audience can connect once more with the performers as they slide, fall, jump and dive across the watery stage. By now you should know that this is not a show easily defined and is definitely not one for the faint of heart.

© Photo by ©Keiko Tanabe

Fuerza Bruta is unlike any show I have experienced before and is a true sensory experience, refreshing in its originality yet challenging to describe with words alone.

In addition to all the action taking place throughout the performance, some lucky spectators are selected to participate in each show and given the opportunity of a lifetime — the chance to be a part of something truly unique.

Bonus brownie points

The VIP seating area allows the audience to sit back and enjoy a drink and watch the show unfold from above. It’s perched directly above the action so you can catch every second from the comfort of your seat and avoid getting wet or swept up in the dancing — but where’s the fun in that?

This is not a show easily defined and is definitely not one for the faint of heart.

If you’re searching for something new and exciting to do or perhaps looking to introduce visiting friends and family to a unique Japanese-inspired performance that has already taken the world by storm, book your tickets now as this show will never disappoint. Just make sure you dress comfortably and prepare to get wet!

The Deets

When: Now through May 2018
Where: Stellar Ball, Shinagawa Prince Hotel, 4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tickets: ¥4,785 – ¥16,500 (VIP with champagne). Purchase tickets online.

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