Cock: I like it

Publicity photo for Mike Bartlett's play Cock

Three smart actors: Nathan Witte, Troy Mundle, and Lee Tomaschefski (Screen grab)

Let’s talk about sex. That’s what Cock is all about — well sex, love, and identity.

In Mike Bartlett’s Olivier Award-winning script from 2009, John has left his male lover M when he meets W and has sex with a woman for the first time. He thinks W’s vagina is “amazing” and he falls for her — sort of. John wants to get back together with M, but he also wants to stay with W. So the three of them have dinner together to hash it out — the sort of thing that happens all the time in the theatre and almost never in real life.

Stylistically, the cool, cool thing about Cock is that the action all spills out in a circular playing area — like a cockfighting ring. Other than the circle, there’s no set, there are no props, and, although the characters serve and consume food and drinks, there’s no mime. This keeps the focus on the “cockfights” — the headliner is the throwdown between M and W — on the war of words. [Read more…]

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.

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