‘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people still aren’t treated equally across the board, at this time the playwright is saying that maybe the labels are outdated now; maybe the labels are restricting us too much.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

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

10 storylines to watch for the Giants this…

The Giants rebounded from an embarrassing 0-6 start last season, but not well enough to make the playoffs.

NFL

Michael Vick set to be weekly guest with…

Mike Francesa may need to backtrack from his harsh commentary of Michael Vick now that the Jets backup quarterback will be a weekly guest on his show.

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…