Cock and Nirbhaya provide vastly different experiences

Cock, Rumble Theatre, Performance Works

In Cock, W (Donna Soares, L), and M (Shawn Macdonald, R) fight over John (Nadeem Phillip)

I’ve got two very different shows to recommend this week.

Mike Bartlett’s Cock is a comedy about an existential crisis of sexual identity. John has been living with M, an older man, but falls in love—much to his surprise—with W, a woman. John can’t choose, so he keeps saying “yes” to everybody.

To make M feel better, John says that W is “manly”, which leads to a running gag in which which M refers to W’s Yeti-like masculinity.

Duncan Fraser’s slyly understated take on F, M’s father, is a highlight of this Rumble Theatre production. (Sorry. When I first posted this, I got my Ws and Fs mixed up.)

Cock runs until November 8.

Nirbhaya, the Cultch, York Theatre

Rusher Kabir and Sneha Jawale share their stories of gender-based violence in Nirbhaya. Ankur Vikal helps to tell the stories.

At the York Theatre, until November 14,  you can have a completely different experience with Nirbhaya, which was inspired by the 2012 gang rape and torture of Jyoti Singh Pandey in South Delhi. Two weeks after the attack, Pandey died of her injuries.

Nirbhaya tells her story. Four of the women in the cast also tell the true stories of how they themselves were victims of gender-based violence.

The material is horrific and the telling is artful. Nirbhaya is a milestone, a show that people will refer to for years.

Hiro Kanagawa’s Indian Arm is worth the effort

Indian Arm, Richard Russ, Rumble Theatre

Richard Russ is one of the strong actors in Rumble Theatre’s Indian Arm

In the land of theatre, the pick is easy this week. And, as a bonus, I’ve got a couple of movies for you.

Hiro Kanagawa’s Indian Arm just runs for two more nights (until April 18) at Studio 16. Get in if you can. Kanagawa’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf is challenging, but the pay-off is worth it, thanks, in part, to the exemplary performances of many in the cast, including Jennifer Copping and Gerry Mackay. Indian Arm, which is set in our local fjord, is about selfishness and sharing in the context of sex—and land claims.

And I saw a couple of movies this week that are so good that I have to tell you about them. (Yes, I also like movies, but that doesn’t mean that I love theatre less, so settle down.) [Read more…]