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ranters and ravers

Please Do Not Approach Charles Isherwood

Do not taunt Charles Isherwood.Photo: Getty Images

Pity poor New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood! "I am fiercely averse to audience participation," he writes today in his awesome, stuffy-beyond-words review of Fuerzabruta, the follow-up to De La Guarda:

My habitual routine for repelling the attentions of frisky cast members — tightly crossed arms, forbidding stare — was useless here. I was set upon by a small, feisty fellow who mocked (rather well) my glowering stiffness, grabbed me by the shoulders, and insisted I join the jumping throngs. I compromised with a hop or two, and he left me in blessed peace.


We like to imagine that at the exact moment Isherwood hopped up in the air, he wore the same rictus of a grin he sports in this photo.

Isherwood is at his snooty best throughout the review: "Theater for people who don’t really like theater," he calls Fuerzabruta. He belittles the suspended Mylar pool, pointing out that when scantily clad actresses swim just above the heads of audience members, "the more aggressive viewers ogle and grope, with only a quarter-inch of plastic to shield them from misdemeanor charges." And after a long description of the show's opener, set on a fast-moving treadmill on which a runner bursts through cardboard walls, Isherwood sniffs: "I suppose you could say he represents the indomitable human will in opposition to the destructive influences of our assaultive world. You could also say that Pac-Man is a profound digital meditation on the human capacity for greed. But why would you?"

God, that's outstanding. This doesn't really sound like our kind of show, but we would consider seeing it if Charles Isherwood were our date.

Don’t Slump: Stand, Gawk, Collaborate [NYT]

Earlier: ‘Fuerzabruta’: Everybody Into the Pool