‘Cock’ opens Theatre Exile’s new season

 

"Cock" runs Oct.17 to Nov. 10 at Studio X. Photo Credit: Robert Hakalski
“Cock” runs Oct.17 to Nov. 10 at Studio X. Photo Credit: Robert Hakalski

There’s nothing subtle about the title of British playwright Mike Bartlett’s “Cock,” which opens Theatre Exile’s new season. As it turns out, the play itself isn’t as aggressively confrontational as its name implies, but it depicts a struggle with sexuality where what something or somebody is called is all-important.

“It’s about a kid trying to get in touch with his identity,” explains Deborah Block, Theatre Exile’s producing artistic director. “He’s really trying to find out who he is and it seems like the main obstacle to figuring it out is the labels that society has laid out on top of him.”

The main character, John (Wes Haskell), has just broken up with his boyfriend (John Jarboe) and unexpectedly falls in love with a woman (Mary Tuomanen). The fact that he’s always defined himself as homosexual is one of the major sources of John’s confusion, and his struggle to elide definitions is, according to Block, a timely one.

“I don’t think this play could have been written 10 years ago,” she says. “At certain times in our lives, labels are really important for people to even begin to fight for their rights. Sometimes, once you’re given a name, you have a place. So while people still aren’t treated equally across the board, at this time the playwright is saying that maybe the labels are outdated now; maybe the labels are restricting us too much. He’s suggesting that maybe for some people, the labels are more of a hindrance.”

The biggest struggle for the actors may not be their elusive characters but the play’s unique staging. Bartlett calls for a bare stage with no props or scenic elements, leading to a delicate balance of physicality and suggestion. “The actors have to fully live in the emotional reality of the characters without it getting mime-y or dance-y,” Block explains. “They have to be really comfortable with their bodies, but in a very subtle way. Theater is corporeal and sensual, so they had to feel safe with nothing to hide behind in order to tell the story.”

On a bare stage
The challenges of staging a play with no props are in large part what attracted Block to “Cock,” which kicks off a season largely concerned with the search for and exploration of personal identity. “It’s very much what I would call an Exile play in that it really taps into the core of a human emotion,” she says. “Our shows tend to dig into who we are emotionally, usually the part of ourselves which is more embarrassing to show to the public.”

“Cock”
Oct. 17 to Nov. 10
Studio X
1340 S. 13th St.
$20-$40, 215-218-4022
www.theatreexile.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.