Currently in its preview stage, Cages by Woolf and the Wondershow is an experience that's hard to explain because it offers so much. The general story, for those being invited into the world Anhedonia, is that its citizens aren't allowed to feel their feelings. It's a dark, grey scale world where everyone's hearts are locked away in cages. And I'm sure, you can imagine where the story goes from there, but I assure you it's so much more than getting from this point A to the obvious point B. It's not going to even remotely go the way you expect it to.
Promotion: I'm surprised with how minimal the promotion seems for such an intricate production. There's a couple trailers, my friend and I listened to what music we could find by Woolf and the Wondershow before attending, and I read a couple of reviews that carefully dodged spoilers, (example from No Proscenium). It seems like the kind of thing you wander into, you let it pull you in until you can't stop thinking about it. I know it's in preview mode, but... the experience of walking up to where the show is very much felt like a descent into something otherworldly. That's the level of thoughtfulness that carries through the entire experience, so this polar opposite of "in your face" promotion lends itself to a sort of sense of discovery.
Music: Whatever you can find of Woolf and the Wondershow on various platforms will barely prepare you for the evolution of their sound in this show. My body is actually aching for the soundtrack to be released. Aching, do you hear me? The weaving of so many different genres to create this almost 3D auditory experience had me in tears and sitting for the majority of the show in open mouth awe. Listening to each song feels like they're teaching you a whole new way to feel your body and inviting you to rediscover all the things you have missed in your life outside this venue. Haunting melodies...no, you know what, I can do better than that. Each melody coaxes your attention through a mastery of dynamics, seeps into your bones with a reassurance that you are safe but you are going to feel something profound, and reminds you of the sweet spot between deep engulfing bass and delicate touches of notes where music can become a breathtaking experience.
And I still feel like this underselling it...
A Visual Feast: From the moment you step inside the doors all the way to the end of the show, there's so much to look at and explore. Wherever your gaze lands, there is something happening, something changing. Curious, hungry minds are greatly rewarded here.
What the show accomplishes in using every single resource at its disposal is extremely pleasing to the mind in terms of timing, artistry, and storytelling. Nothing is just there, everything serves a purpose to enhance the depth of the story. I'm upset that blinking is a thing humans have to do because I walked out of there feeling like I missed half the show for it. Down to the costumes, the perfect combination of color scheme and texture sold you on the dystopian vibe while still subtly capitalizing on the hidden beauty of this place. It seems to be the kind of experience that the more you go, the more you find.
Immersion: Keep your head up and your mind open and you'll be dizzy with delight. From the charming bartenders who prepare your drinks with a elegant flourish to the cast members walking through the crowd with the attitude required to not get sent to the Emotional Correction Facility to the very space itself, with its apparent careful precision of the placement of each room; my friend and I wanted to live there. I'm leaving a lot out because even a single detail would demand more to be revealed and it's so good to go and just experience it fully without a lot of introduction.
I walked into Cages with my heart feeling a little beat up and my soul a little too weary for words and left feeling like my heart had been stitched back together and my soul lighter than its been in a long time. I'll be honest, I was worried the love story aspect of this was going to be sticky sweet, but it wasn't. The show is very aware of itself and doesn't overdo anything as it explores the balance between formulaic experiences meeting emotional discoveries. It's poignant, inspiring, funny at times, and it's obvious a great deal of heart went into this.
And I can't wait to visit it again.
Tickets are available at https://www.cagesdtla.com/ . There is also a waitlist for free tickets. In between now and you seeing the show you can
stalk obsess follow Woolf and the Wondershow on Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, as well as catch glimpses of the show through Cages very own Instagram.
Until next time,
Don't be hungry for life. Be ravenous.
Zakkarrii Edison Daniels