COCK

Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

20/07/2017 - 12/08/2017

Production Details


by Mike Bartlett
Directed by Shane Bosher

A co-presentation with Auckland Live and Silo Theatre


Shane Bosher’s critically acclaimed and award-winning production of Cock will take the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre by the balls for a witty and sharp observation of modern love from 20 July – 12 August.

John wants out, so he’s taking a break from his high maintenance boyfriend. Liberated from Mr Co-Dependent, the last thing he’s expecting is to suddenly meet the woman of his dreams. Now John’s stuck in a total boy-meets-girl meets-boyfriend dilemma.

Caught in a maelstrom of possibility, guilt and indecision, John reckons there’s only one way to straighten this all out. Sometimes love is worth a good fight!

British playwright Mike Bartlett’s playful and candid encounter with sexuality and its discontents has already knocked out audiences in London, New York and Sydney. Now it’s Auckland’s turn for this wildly funny, thrillingly contemporary take on the intricacies of dysfunctional relationships, sexual identity and this thing we call love.

“With the exception of Oscar Wilde, quarrelling lovers are never as articulate and entertaining as they are in Cock, Mike Bartlett’s battle royale of wit and persuasion” – Variety.

Mike Bartlett’ King Charles III won the 2017 Laurence Olivier Award for Theatre. In addition to theatre, multi award-winning writer, Mike Bartlett has produced screenplays for film and television. His 2015 series, Doctor Foster won the New Drama Award at the National Television Awards,  and a BBC TV version of his  ground-breaking play, King Charles III was broadcast in the UK in May 2017.

Named as an Aucklander of the Year in 2005 by Metro magazine, and four-time Director of the Year by The New Zealand Listener , Cock director Shane Bosher is one of New Zealand’s most prolific theatre makers. Bosher is best known for his incredible portfolio of work completed during his 13-year tenure as artistic director of Silo Theatre. Productions include Angels in America, When the Rain Stops Falling, Holding the Man and Private Lives. Now living in Sydney, his 2017 engagements include productions of A Streetcar Named Desire for Silo Theatre and The Kitchen Sink for Ensemble Theatre in Sydney.

Bosher has attracted an amazing cast to bring Cock to life in New Zealand, combining the very best of Australasian talent including New Zealand cast member Matt Minto (Shortland Street, Angels in America) and Aussie theatre stars Matilda Ridgway (multiple award- winning actress including 2014 Best Actress, Sydney Theatre Awards for A Doll’s House; 2015 Best Actress, Sydney Arts Guide Award for The Crucible) as well as newcomer and NIDA graduate Duncan Ragg. Bosher’s 2015 Sydney production of Cock was nominated for four Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Production, Best Direction, Best Actress and Best Lighting Design. The production won the 2015 Mardi Gras Festival Award for Best Arts Event.

‘Mike Bartlett’s crisp script is well served by Shane Bosher’s direction which is sheer, sharp and clear, keeping his characters spiraling and spinning, sparring and parrying with slick stage crafted scene changes’ – Arts Hub (Australia)

WARNING: There will be no nudity in this production!

Cock plays:
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland
Thursday 20 July – Saturday 12 Aug 2017
Tuesday & Wednesday, 7pm;
Thursday – Saturday, 8pm
and Sunday, 5pm
Tickets: $25 – $55 (service fees apply)
Duration: 1 hour and 30 mins
Book at aucklandlive.co.nz/show/cock
#Cockfightplay 


Performance: 
Matt Minto:  M
Duncan Ragg:  John
Matilda Ridgway:  W  


Theatre ,


No Joke

Review by Matt Baker 25th Jul 2017

It seems only fitting that director Shane Bosher return to Auckland to direct a play from his bucket list for the company he co-founded. Presented by Silo Theatre and Auckland Live, the title of Mike Bartlett’s Laurence Olivier Award-winning play may put some people off, but it epitomises the raw honesty of the dialogue which drives Bartlett’s script. We’re fortunate that New Zealand’s LGBTQ+ rights and protections are some of the most advanced and liberal in the world, and yet bisexuality remains as elusive as it does anywhere else. Which is why, even eight years after debuting at the Royal Court, Cock is just as relevant in Auckland in 2017. 

An acting teacher once told me that every scene is about either the beginning of a relationship, the end of a relationship, or the beginning of the end of a relationship. Not content with one, or even two, of these circumstances, Bartlett infuses all three in a battle for not only love, but also identity. These are not easy characters to play, and the cast do an admirable job of portraying them without hesitation, warts and all. [More

Comments

Make a comment

Ex marks the spat for provocative comedy

Review by Ethan Sills 25th Jul 2017

Cock is a bold, eyebrow-raising and expectation-generating title but rest assured, Silo Theatre’s latest play is not what you’d expect. Director Shane Bosher’s version of the Olivier award-winner by British playwright Mike Bartlett is a simple, understated and tense comedy.

After seven years, John, the hapless and sad-faced protagonist, decides he is tired of his boyfriend constantly judging him. So he dumps him then, in the throes of the post-break-up post-mortem, meets and sleeps with a woman for the first time.

The experience goes well but then John decides he wants to get back with his ex and drama ensues. [More

Comments

Make a comment

Thrillingly perfected

Review by Heidi North 22nd Jul 2017

Cock is a play about sexuality, power and identity. Yes, it’s confronting and personal, but there is no ‘real’ nudity or sex on stage. It’s much more honest than that. 

Written by UK playwright Mike Bartlett and directed by Shane Bosher, Cock is a sharp, witty and clever play which probes how we define ourselves in terms of the relationships in our lives.  

John (Duncan Ragg) is in a rocky but committed seven-year relationship with another man (unnamed, simply called ‘M’ and played by Matt Minto). The play opens on the verge of their breaking up but then John is back on M’s doorstep, wanting to get back together.

However, as his astute boyfriend quickly realises, there is a catch – John has slept with a woman (also unnamed, simply called ‘W’ and played by Matilda Ridgway) and possibly fallen in love. John is back to ask for help.

Thus the stage for Cock is set. It’s a love triangle. And John can’t choose. It’s not just M or W he’s choosing between, but a future where he’s either gay or straight. Having never been attracted to, or had a relationship with a woman before, is it possible he got it wrong when he came out? Or is he bisexual? Is it just a case of the grass with someone else is greener? 

The play probes the conversation around bisexuality. It’s a challenging thing to quantify using the accepted sexual binaries. It can be dismissed as a transition state, or a way to hide the truth of sexual identity. In her essay in the play’s programme, Jess Holly Bates quotes academic Carolyn Pajor as calling bisexuals, “the white trash of the gay world.”

Society has carved out ways to respond to the ‘coming out’ narrative, but the conversation is more difficult on how to respond to men who go back into the closet. Is it simply about falling in love with the person, or is it more than that?  

John is being told he needs to decide who/what he is, in relation to both his sexuality and who he wants to be with. To answer the question his male lover, M, throws a dinner party, with a surprise guest, M’s father (Carl Bland). It takes skill to bring a new actor into the mix part way through, especially into a conversation so private, but Carl Bland brings just the right energy when he arrives as F, the father.

The Auckland production of Cock is based on the award-winning production Shane Bosher directed in Sydney two years ago. The Auckland staging brings in two new actors to join two of the original cast members.

Bosher does a stunning job with a stunning cast. The performances are taut, emotionally raw and the tension of the piece fizzes. When the actors are intimate, or get metaphorically ‘naked’, we feel like accidental voyeurs, it’s as powerful as if they were truly naked in front of us. 

Instead of realism, it is hyper naturalistic. The world is a construct. There are no sets, no props, only brief lighting/music changes to delineate scenes. The objects are referenced but there is deliberately no pantomime. This means that even the dialogue about seemingly mundane things is forced to work on deeper levels. It’s used as a way to express uncomfortable emotional undertones and highlights the way we use objects in social situations to mitigate our engagement with the world around us.

Performed in the semi-round, the play demands a kind of audience engagement. The set is based loosely on the idea of a cockfight: the desire in humanity to watch animals battle it out in a gristly manner. The audience are constantly reminded that we are not supposed to be there to be passive observers but, as we watch the actors circle and catch the expressions of fellow audience members around us, we are uncomfortably reminded that we are there to witness something psychologically bloody.   

Cock is a play which, while related to sexuality identity, ripples out more into a broader exploration of identity. It’s about how we all must find ourselves, within and without our sexuality and the relationships we build around that. It’s about negotiating the rules of living. It’s a sort of modern comedy of manners.   

A thrillingly perfected production. 

Comments

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council