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people still aren’t treated equally across the board, at this time the playwright is saying that maybe the labels are outdated now; maybe the labels are restricting us too much.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

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 16: 'The Americans,'…

'The Americans' Philip and Elizabeth face "painful turns" in their missions. Maybe next week they'll have a nice easy mission with no moral ambiguity? Probably…

Movies

Review: 'Bears' is a cute Disney doc about…

Disney's latest nature doc, "Bears," doesn't completely shy away from the fact that its subjects would devour you (or eachother) if they had the chance.

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Food

Wahlbergs expanding Wahlburgers fast food joint across North…

Wahlburgers will open new restaurants in Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.

Wellbeing

Could a facelift give you the edge at…

It's not just women lining up for procedures.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…