Review “Cock” (Profiles Theatre): Lasting Impact

By Sara Eisenbaum

It wasn’t surprising to learn that there was controversy surrounding this play, especially when I realized that I was on the phone with my mother spelling the title c-o-c-k. After leafing through the director’s note there was a statement that confirmed I wasn’t alone as American audiences blushed their way through the title and the action of the play as much as I did. Sensitive audiences aside, “Cock” is an intimate look inside relationships, and the negotiations that have to take place in order to maintain a semblance of love. The crux of the play is a gay relationship that has taken a hit as one of the partners has discovered a connection to a woman; undiscovered territory. The play acts as a larger statement about the labels that haunt the LGBT community and how hard they are to negotiate once an individual has been branded. In addition the play adeptly addresses sexual attraction, emotional insensitivity, how insecurity can often be the third partner in a relationship, and also what happens when boundaries are broken and people have to negotiate their feelings versus their expectations. The theater in the round setting was surprising at first, but then the gladiator style pit made sense, both creatively, as well as logistically. The action of the play centers around a fighting ring that awaits the ding of the start bell. The audience becomes oriented to the bell almost in a Pavlovian response, awaiting the drama to unfold in a manner that in many ways relates to what they have or will experience in their own relationships. The navigation of the play is authentic, and the emotions of the actors are at times awkwardly thick. The play leaves a lasting impact of understanding that identity swinging like a pendulum is an easier pill for some to swallow, but I find myself still smiling and blushing.

At Profiles Theatre Main Stage, 4139 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613

Written by Mike Bartlett

Directed by Darrell W. Cox

Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 5 pm and 8 pm; Sundays at 7pm

Thru April 6, 2014

For more information, visit http://profilestheatre.org/box_office.html

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