Elizabeth Streb has spent more than 20 years investigating the capacity of the human body by pushing it to the extreme. Her newest work, “FORCES,” takes physicality to another level — 35 meters high, in fact. Her team of powerhouse performers, whom she calls Action Engineers, hurl themselves from a rising platform that spans the width of SLAM (the Streb Laboratory for Action Mechanics), an industrial garage in Williamsburg that has been transformed into a community center for acrobatics, aerials and questioning physics.
Walking into the loud, renovated warehouse, it is clear that Streb has cultivated a hub for experimentation and education. Performers and audience members co-mingle, waiting for the main event to begin. Then you’re ushered into the bleacher-style arena by a live DJ, who comments on the show and leads the raffle (oh yes, it’s that kind of performance).
Streb’s work is widely celebrated, both here and abroad. She has created an enterprise that entangles performers in stunt work, circus tricks and dance maneuvers with highly engineered machines that make gravity deniable and flight seemingly possible. Packaged with red and yellow tape, the SLAM ecosystem is easily penetrable and ready for the masses.
“FORCES” is an event that any thrill-seeker will fully enjoy. The performance exudes danger; it is a series of action events punctuated by unfiltered projected interviews of Streb where she speaks candidly about her personal interests and curiosities through a variety of anecdotes. She spells it out for you — referencing flight, gravity, vulnerability and risk. The performers breathe as one; ferocity and focus are constants, trust and bravery resonate. They rotate — in high speed, in multiple directions, on their hands, on their heads — flipping and creating images of heroic figures (and silly ones, too). They walk on the walls, fly through the air and slam face-first into the ground with minimal padding and an immense amount of training. And you’re left pondering mortality, risk and the power of the human body.
If you go
Nov. 8-Dec. 22
Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m.
Sat. and Sun. at 3 p.m.
51 N. First St., Brooklyn