By Sue Suchyta
With artistic wings spread, avian actresses soar as the Outvisible Theatre Company launches the riveting psychological drama, “Cagebirds” Sept. 30 to Oct. 9 at the theater, 18614 Ecorse Road in Allen Park.
The show, which offers strong, challenging roles for young actresses, explores the aspects of lives impacted by the Stockholm syndrome, with an unexpected twist.
Stockholm syndrome occurs when hostages begin to feel empathy and sympathy for their captors, defending them and mistaking a lack of abuse for kindness.
The play, written 40 years ago by David Campton, focuses on six caged birds who are self-absorbed with their own idiosyncrasies. When a wild bird enters their realm and tries to introduce them to the outside world, urging them to break free from their cycle of dependency, the stage is set for a showdown.
Directed by Adriane Galea, the cast features Jean Pilon of Wyandotte as the Mistress and Alana Reinert, 17, of Northville as the Wild One.
Playing the six caged birds are Dearborn residents Lilliana Greimel, 13, as Thump, and Scout Greimel, 16, as Gloom; Dearborn Heights residents Madison Ganzak, 13, as the Gossip, and Isabella Torres, 15, as the Gazer; Anna Bruce, 12, of Trenton as the Twitting; and Kendall Manthei, 16, of Wyandotte as the Guzzle.
Galea said the show is appealing to actors because they not only get to create a character, they get to create one that doesn’t take on human form.
“I don’t think they have ever experienced anything like this, which I think has been really fun for them,” Galea said. “As a director, those same things are what make it challenging, but really interesting as well.”
She said the show is deeply rooted with psychological issues.
“I love dramaturgy, so when I first read this show I knew I’d want to do it at some point if for no other reason than to delve into the script and character analyses,” Galea said. “For the audience, there’s a big twist in the script, and seeing their reactions will be fun.”
Because she also teaches performing arts, Galea feels it is important to offer at least one show each season with substantial roles for teens.
Reinert, who tries to learn from each acting opportunity, said she loves the concept of the show and the intimacy of the venue.
“It’s exciting to try something new,” she said. “The Wild One is a free thinker. She is independent and operates on her own rules.
“No one can hold her back when she sets her mind on something. Her transcendental thinking is something I strive to practice every day.”
Ganzak said she wishes she could be more like her character, the Gossip, who always says exactly what is on her mind.
She said she usually does musicals, and the action and dramatic elements in “Cagebirds” sets it apart from her past performances.
Ganzak said each attendee will think about the show in a different way.
“I would hope that people could relate to the show and see some of themselves in the characters,” Ganzak said.
Reinert hopes audiences will leave with an appreciation for their freedom and the ability to make their own choices.
“Walking away, maybe the audience will be more inclined to take advantage of their opportunities and tap into the ‘Wild One’ inside of them,” she said.
The show runs 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. Oct. 9. The show contains dark themes, but no overt adult situations or content.
Tickets are $20, with a $5 discount for students, seniors and Encore eCasting enrollees.
For tickets or more information, go to OutvisibleTheatre.com.