Last Friday saw the opening of “In Cabaret We Trust,” an immersive theater experience set in the not too distant future. A fascist government has taken over the reins of power while a lone theater in our fair city remains a refuge for an assortment of liberal artists and performers. The aesthetic is Weimar Germany and the show was inspired by trauma created by the last presidential election. Audience members can experience artwork, muralists, fire performers, burlesque and pole and hoop dance throughout the evening. A senator, a representative of the regime, is also in attendance and views the audience and the show from above, while plotting to close it down.
There are two ways to participate: you can watch the action or you can choose to get involved with it. If you choose to engage with the actors, you will find another narrative that runs beneath the surface. By participating in “confessionals” with the performers you might learn more about what is actually going on. All this is set in the wonderful Blind Whino art space, with its many interesting nooks and crannies and the gallery walls decorated with artwork commissioned specifically for this project. Much of the artwork is also for sale.
Artistic director Strother Gaines, created the show in six weeks with a team of three playwright-producers strongly encouraging collaboration between each of the performers and the writers/ artistic directors. Gaines says while some theater groups have experimented with the concept, TBD is D.C.’s first company dedicated exclusively to immersive work.