Theater + Dance

Cock Fight Play

When: June 12-July 6 2014

People refer to Mike Bartlett’s play as The Cock Fight Play because that’s easier than trying to use its actual title, Cock, in everyday conversation. But it’s a good, blunt title for a play about hard, complex issues related to identity, choice, and more. On the surface, it’s about a British man named John (Chris Roe) who can’t decide between staying with his long-time boyfriend (“M,” played by Scot Greenwell) or continuing a relationship he started on a whim with a woman (“W,” played by Sarah McGee). The tension is heightened further by the staging: The audience sits on two raked sides of a cockfighting pit swathed with barbed wire. (The Phoenix’s main stage has been completely transformed.) Actors under Bryan Fonseca’s deft direction pace and dodge around the confined space, retreating to their corners between bouts, er, scenes. Their interactions are exquisite. I empathized with John trying to be honest about who he was and what he wanted, even as he cocked things up. On the other hand, labels are sometimes useful in achieving justice. As “M” says, “There’s still so much work to be done!”

Price: prices vary.

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