M Butterfly - quick take

Beautiful, yet sparse.  Simple, yet complex.  The new production of avid Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, currently in previews at the Cort Theatre, are these and more.  Directed by Julie Taymor (Lion King, Spiderman Turn off the Dark) this production uses multiple panels as the only backdrops and set pieces, putting more focus on the stellar acting taking place on stage.

This is a story of a French Diplomat that falls in love with a Chinese Opera singer while working in China.  The action starts with the Diplomat recalling over the and over the details that led him to be imprisoned in his home country.

Clive Owen passionately plays the French Diplomat, Renee Gallimard who may be imprisoned in his own mind.  Jin Ha plays his butterfly and obsession, Song Liling, with grace and ferocity.  

I recommend beautifully presented update to a classic that will make you think twice about perceptions and reality.



WAYRA - Fuerza Bruta


Making its return to the Daryl Roth Theatre is, Fuerza Bruta, the interactive performance art piece that had a previous long run and was very popular.  This time it is billed as WAYRA which means... what the heck does it mean?  Well Fuerza Bruta is "brute force" and WAYRA doesn't seem to mean anything except what the performers scream and yell at various points throughout the show.  But in the end it doesn't really matter since you shouldn't really don't need understand what they are saying it's more important to just enjoy the spectacle.  

If you saw Fuerza Bruta before WAYRA is essentially the same show with an added scene of performers climbing through a wind tunnel shaped like a large plastic tube.  The running along the walls, line dancing and half naked girls swimming around in a see-through glass tank are still a part of the show.  As is the famous running man dressed all in white running through walls of boxes and avoiding obstacles until getting shot.  The audience meanwhile is corralled and moved around as needed to allow the action to happen right in front of you.  You essentially are part of the show/experience and thus are taking part in the creation of art.  

This is one of those shows that needs to be experienced and seen in person as it is hard to describe to one that hasn't been.  It is a fun experience and something different from the standard show tunes of the Great White Way.  It is appropriate for all ages and since there are no seats a group of people can go and experience the show together.  Just be aware that you will have to stand the whole time and move around as directed.