Bromance at New Victory Theater
Bromance by the Barely Methodical Troupe at New Victory Theater
Three men, three chairs and a Cyr wheel, with the addition of lighting and music, created a story that I’ve never seen so clearly and specifically told on any stage. It was a beautiful performance showing all sides of male friendships no matter what age. They could have been five, twenty-five or sixty-five year olds. Physical theatre was infused with contemporary acrobatic circus which included smelling each other’s armpits, discrete coughs, bear noises, awkwardly honest but still kind comments like “so short!”, cuddling and touching in unusual ways for men. Their actions were for the audience to interpret, but they were radiating kindness and love towards each other even when they had ups and downs in the relationship. Sometimes two of the three were closer and the third one felt left out, but they always caught each other if one was falling off the Cyr wheel.
The audience screamed as one friend in the wheel spun so fast so close to the ground, almost on top of the other friend. The improbable movement of the bodies, jumps and “everyday” actions, such as wanting to pick someone up from the ground but they slip out of your arms, were performed so effortlessly even though they required so much training and strength. They had metaphors for the macho side of men who want to show-off in front of each other and everyone else. They didn’t critique it. They embraced it in a way that showed that behind all the machismo there is so much need for affection.
The house consisted of almost as many children as adults who all equally enjoyed the show together, maybe the young adults a bit more when the three friends took off their shirts towards the very end and we could see the muscles that allow them all these detailed and seamless wizarding of the human body. This show made me realize the boundaries of theatre for young audiences and for adults. The only real difference is the duration of the piece and the speed, as children like a fast paced show and can’t stay put for longer than an hour.