Home Arts I love COCK, and I’m sure you will too

I love COCK, and I’m sure you will too

by Lydia Anderson February 9, 2016
I love COCK, and I’m sure you will too

PlayShed, a new Montreal theatre company, presents COCK as their premiere show

It’s the kind of truthful, essential theatre that will give you an affection erection. COCK, a play by British author Mike Bartlett, is PlayShed’s inaugural production, now showing at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) until Feb. 14.

new-photo-2 PlayShed, a Montreal theatre company founded in 2014, is made up of three graduates from Concordia’s theatre program—Kristen Gregor, Jimmy Blais and Olivier Lamarche. The director of this piece is a member of the theatre faculty at Concordia, Liz Valdez. She has worked with all three PlayShed team members in the past, either as a mentor or within workshops.

Valdez’s colleague, Bryan Doubt, introduced her to the script and she has been using COCK as a text in her acting classes for years ever since. This led to her suggesting it for PlayShed’s premiere show, a choice that helped the company come out swinging by exemplifying their ability to offer quality theatre.

The story follows John (Mike Payette), a man who strays from his long-term boyfriend (Eloi ArchamBaudoin) and, to the surprise of them both, falls in love with a woman (Melanie Sirois). After only being with men his whole life, it sends John reeling into an existential crisis. Paralyzed with indecisiveness, John’s inner turmoil reeks havoc on all parties involved and highlights behavioural qualities that are present in all of us.

The show succeeds because of the rawness of its simple recipe. It is made up of a cast of four strong actors, a simplistic stage set, an enticing plot and universal human propensities. Its strength is in the dialogue, a script both comedic and frustrating that relies completely on the connection between characters.

“[COCK is] not meant to have any set, any props or any miming. This is what excited me the most about doing this play, and it is also the scariest thing about doing this play. Because you have no crutches, the actors have nothing to hold onto or use or hide behind … They have to really be in the moment, they have to know every moment what is going on,” said Valdez.

It’s a play that explores the societal boxes and the emotional labyrinths that cloud the clarity of connection. John deviates from the idea that he and others have of him, which makes him question who he is and whether or not he’s manifesting a craving for heteronormativity. His identity it seems, throughout the whole piece, is irremediably tied to his sexuality.

new-photoHowever, the truths of relationship, commitment, categorization and the basic human search for happiness transcend the realm of gender and sexual preference. “It’s about identity but not sexual identity necessarily, just about identity. Who am I and how can I be happy? I really appreciated that Mike Bartlett basically turned everything on its ass … I loved that because I thought the story is simply about identity and we don’t need to use a heterosexual couple to say all the same things,” said Valdez.

It’s a script riddled with importance and habitual, intrinsic aspects of the human experience. Whether it prompts conversation or realization, PlayShed’s production of COCK is artfully executed and worth every moment of your time.

 

COCK will run until Feb. 14 at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels). Tickets range from $17 to $28.50.

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