Fans ranged from disappointed to infuriated as they left what they thought was supposed to be a rare Rochester performance by their favorite alternative rock band, Cage the Elephant.
“I’m going to demand my money back,” said Sarah Weise, a disgruntled fan who left the Main Street Armory half an hour into the performance.
“I thought maybe he was some kind of weird opening act, but when I saw a tweet from the band about how excited they were to be in Stockholm tonight, I realized this was supposed to be the main event.”
What most of the rock fans failed to notice as they were their buying tickets was that the act wasn’t called “Cage the Elephant” but in fact, “Cage, the Elephant.”
Some arrived hoping to hear old favorites like, “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” while others were hoping to hear more from the band’s newest album, “Tell Me I’m Pretty.”
None expected what was actually about to happen.
Waiting in the main concert hall for the performance to start, fans were startled when the lights all went out. Most thought there was some kind of technical failure, but in fact it was the start of the show.
The sound of crickets permeated the room on all sides, followed by the growl of some kind of large predator and the sound of a frightened flock taking flight.
A lone spotlight cut through the darkness to illuminate the stage.
Quietly at first—but with increasing intensity—came the slow, steady beat of a bass drum. Eagle-eyed spectators noticed a figure ambling out from backstage in time with the drum.
Into the spotlight emerged what appeared to be a middle-aged man in a tattered elephant costume.
Not acknowledging the crowd at all, the man clomped around the stage, occasionally attempting to make an elephant’s trumpeting sound with his mouth.
About five minutes into this baffling display, the man stayed facing the crowd long enough for them to get a good glimpse.
Amid the savannah sounds and otherwise silent spectators, a voice called out from the crowd, “Is that Nicolas Cage!?”
And indeed, it was the one and only Nicolas Cage, Academy Award winner and star of such instant classics as “Ghost Rider,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.”
What proceeded for the next two hours—for those who stayed to watch the whole thing—was a baffling display, consisting mostly of Mr. Cage roaming aimlessly about the stage, occasionally trumpeting or trying to engage the weaker-looking males in the audience in tusk-sparring matches, presumably trying to win the attention of females.
After the show, Cage would only respond to questions with elephant trumpets, so all questions had to be answered through his agent, Cicolas Nage, who was reachable only by phone and whose voice sounded eerily similar to Cage’s.
“‘Cage, the Elephant’ is a special opportunity for fans to peek behind the scenes at Mr. Cage’s unique acting style and role preparation,” Nage explained.
Cage is known to practice his own type of method acting, in which, to more fully probe the emotional depths of his character, he lives as the character both on and off the set.
“He wants to audition for the lead in the revival of the Broadway play ‘The Elephant Man,’” Nage continued. “They haven’t sent the script we asked for yet, but Nic wanted to get a head start on his preparations, so he’s been wearing that elephant costume for seven straight months now.”
“The Elephant Man” was revived in 2014 for 53 performances, ending in February of 2015. There have been no plans since then of reviving the play again.
“Nic Cage has always been known for unique performances,” noted unofficial Nic Cage biographer and convicted stalker Nikolass Kage, who legally changed his name in 1998 after watching “Face/Off” while under the influence of LSD.
“This one-of-a-kind theatrical masterpiece, in my opinion, will no doubt become one of the defining performances of Cage’s oeuvre.”
Asked to respond to Kage, Cage agent Nage said, “Shit! That guy found us again? Quick, get Nic, we have to get out of here!”
Calling me back safely from the “Cage-o-Copter,” Nage explained more about Cage’s daily elephant routine.
“His morning routine starts at about dawn: breakfast, followed by a shower in which he tries to suck water into his nose and spray it on himself. These days he rarely ever sucks the water into his lungs,” Nage said with a kind of sad pride.
“He then wallows in mud to protect himself from the hot sun, eats lunch, takes a nap while standing up, and spends his afternoon practicing his trumpeting or waving his ears and tusks threateningly at passersby, before settling down for dinner and four hours of sleep.”
Asked what his meals consist of, Nage’s tone grew more concerned.
“Each meal consists of 50 pounds of circus peanuts. I’m not sure he knows that elephants can eat anything else.”
Back at the Main Street Armory the next day, a number of patrons from Cage’s show were angrily demanding their money back, claiming they had been deceived.
Complainants were subjected to a rigorous grammatical test that consisted of discriminating between a friendly invitation to dinner and a suggestion to commit cannibalism against one’s own grandmother.
Those who passed were turned away, while those who failed were granted their refund but immediately enrolled in a second grade writing class.