Big top fun

Life’s A Circus

Argentinian theatre act Fuerza Bruta swings into town this week, and a husband-and-wife team from the show tell us what life on the road is really like.

Life’s A Circus

When it comes to performance night for Fuerza Bruta, don’t expect to see an arena blanketed by a big-top tent—for that matter, don’t expect to see any seats at all. 

Headlining this year’s Singapore Night Festival is the Argentinian act, which prides itself on being nothing like a traditional circus. They prefer to refer to themselves as something more like a ‘party-spectacle’: Which it could well be if your host preferred to make an entrance by gliding in overhead on a suspended silk sheet.

Audience interaction here is a given, rather than a bonus: Feel free to high-five the aerial artists billowing past you, or bust down to the heady beat of their live drum troupe. And given the atmosphere at Fuerza Bruta seems like it’s been supplanted from the streets of Buenos Aires themselves, you’d very much want to. 

Ahead of their opening performance on Thursday, we talk to performers (and husband and wife) Brooke Miyasaki and Liam Lane of Fuerza Bruta about what it’s like to perform their immersive theatre show around the world, ten times a week.

So what makes Fuerza Bruta different from a regular circus show?

Brooke Miyasaki: It’s more of an experience than a traditional ‘theatre’-type show. It’s a physical spectacle with no seats and no script, hence the name ‘Brute Force’.

Liam Lane: Our acts are more about feeling than simply technique. We’re not just showing off what amazing feats we can do—I believe that the acts in Fuerza Bruta are a reflection of the audience’s desires and feelings.

BM: Fuerza Bruta is also from Argentina, so there’s a lot of that culture written into all our scenes. 

LL: You know, I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that we’re acrobats. We’re actors going through intense experiences right in front of you.

What was your audition process with Fuerza Bruta like?

BM: I’ve been an original company member and captain of the New York show since 2007. My audition was incredibly multi-disciplinary in its approach: I learned an Argentine folk dance, had to run on an elevated 12-ft treadmill, and perform in a suspended see-through pool! Definitely not your average audition. 

LL: When I first saw the show, it was the epitome of what I wanted theatre to be at the time. I had also completely fallen in love with Brooke, and when they began holding auditions for Fuerza Bruta 2012, I was so determined to be in it. I took classes in aerial harness work and learned Murga, the traditional Argentinian dance you see in the show. But even after I was hired, it was still a challenge to build the stamina for 8 – 10 performances a week!

How do you prepare yourself on show day?

BM: Show days mean get into your self and body kind of days. Physically, this might consist of yoga or pilates, running, dancing… Anything to help tap into the feeling of being present in your body, so that it can respond quickly.

LL: I need to sleep really well the night before a show—because I only find out what role I’m playing 2 hours before we’re on! Then I have to warm up accordingly. I do some plyometrics (a powerful type of jump-training) and warm up my voice because we have to be very vocal in the show.

BM: For me, I also need to get out of my mind so that I can understand what’s going on around me. I like going into a show feeling open, accessible, and aware.

Is tour life as glamorous as it seems?

BM: Touring definitely has its pros and cons. Traveling to new countries and having the unique opportunity to immerse myself in different cultures is always such a gift. 

LL: The most exhausting part is getting used to the different timezones. It takes time for your body to get used to the new environment, so for the first week or two it feels like you’re playing catch up.

BM: Also, that feeling of being out of your comfort zone is both a blessing and a curse. Being out of your comfort zone means you’re far from your family and your home. That’s personally the most difficult thing for me to handle, having to leave my family for any length of time.

So, what can we expect at your upcoming Singapore show?

BM: The dynamic of the show really changes every time depending on the energy of the audience. But performing for the Singapore Night Festival should be no different, in that Fuerza Bruta will deliver our signature, 360-degree onslaught of the senses.

LL: Definitely. It’ll be a mind-altering experience.

Fuerza Bruta will take place at the Cathay Green from August 29 – 31 as part of the Singapore Night Festival.