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people still aren’t treated equally across the board, at this time the playwright is saying that maybe the labels are outdated now; maybe the labels are restricting us too much.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

Many deaths as boat with African emigrants sinks…

BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - A boat packed with up to 250 African emigrants trying to reach European shores sank on Sunday off the Libyan coast…

Local

State health department warns against rare respiratory virus…

The New York State Department of Health is calling upon parents to be aware of the symptoms of enterovirus EV-D68. More than 12 children across the…

National

Liberal Vermont Senator Sanders may seek U.S. presidency…

By Will DunhamWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bernie Sanders, one of the Senate's leading liberals, said on Sunday he is thinking about running for U.S. president in…

Money

Second Shift: Turning fun into money

In this week's Second Shift series, meet a New Yorker who has established two successful careers around having fun.

Movies

Dan Stevens kisses Cousin Matthew goodbye

Dan Stevens wanted a change and he certainly got one. After quickly developing a devoted fan base as Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," the 32-year-old…

Movies

Nerd alert: Genesis Rodriguez, robot-maker

Geeks of the world, you're about to fall in love with Genesis Rodriguez. There's no point in resisting. The actress, appearing in Kevin Smith's totally…

The Word

The Word: Kanye West wants everyone on their…

Maybe we can blame this one on the migraine, too. Kanye West is drawing ire for halting a performance in Sydney when his demands that…

Movies

That's a wrap on TIFF 2014

This year's Toronto International Film Festival closes without the satisfying sense of certainty that had become a mainstay in recent years. Last year, for example,…

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

NFL

Giants vs. Cardinals: 3 things we learned

The Giants heard all week about how ragged their new offense has looked, but even when they finally answered the bell they still can’t find a way to win.

NFL

About a quarter of football players will get…

About one in four National Football League players are likely to end up suffering cognitive impairments during their lifetime, according to a report.

Home

DIY design: Try this upcycle furniture project

Tiffany Threadgould is living a DIY life. The Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle, an international waste management company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, grew up…

Parenting

The downside of a BFF

For teenage girls a best friend can mean everything, but the way they deal with their problems together can lead to depression

Education

How many colleges should I apply to? Your…

To the average high school senior, creating the perfect college application can seem like a golden ticket into their future. Students and their parents spend…

Career

How Generation Z will change the way Americans…

What to learn how to establish a career in this new economy? Look no further than the current generation of young people - that is,…