After watching Miguel Gutierrez's production of "This Bridge Called My Ass" at the Walker Art Center, you might find yourself asking, "What the hell did I just see?" It's a perfectly fine question to ask, because the show doesn't follow traditional expectations of what you normally might experience in a performance.
It's one of the reasons the Walker's "Out There" series is so beloved by Twin Cities audiences. Even if one particular show isn't your cup of tea, the four-week festival is worth your time, because it's so unlike any other thing you might see in town.
For most of the performance, the audience watches something with a Latinx "Lord of the Flies" meets "Muppet Babies" energy. Dressed in primary colors, much of which is see-through underwear, the performers inhabit a set made of cozy blankets draped from above, speakers scattered about the set, a couple of stools and a laptop that controls, in part, the soundscape for the piece. The performers, who become more and more naked as time progresses, simulate masturbation, wrestle with each other over the various objects in the space and follow their bliss in a bewildering display of raw, curious impulse.
The sound — a mix of classic Mexican tunes, pop music and electronic drones — ebbs in and out, often getting shut off completely because the speakers get jostled about by the performers. The lights, too, are subject to the seemingly erratic nature of whether someone decides to turn them off. And while there's plenty of sexual energy, nothing about what the audience sees is sexy or in any way titillating for the sake of titillation. Rather, it's a much more primal, even childlike rite.
That's the main thrust of the show. Then there's a shorter section where the actors suddenly become actors in a telenovela. Both spoken by the performers and heard via voice-over, the lines reveal increasingly outlandish plot twists about their melodramatic past. This is followed by a ritualistic ending centered on a voice-over monologue delivered by a dog.
The three sections are so bafflingly disconnected, it's best not to stress too much about making sense of the why of how it comes together. Ultimately, the piece reveals an abstracted, often strange, but also quite vulnerable take on the experience of living as a Latinx person in America — one that is fun to watch, even if it's a bit head-scratching.
(8 p.m. Fri., 4 and 8 p.m. Sat., Walker Art Center, $26, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls., 612-375-7600, walkerart.org.)