Just a month to enjoy ‘Cock’

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

Theater actor Jamie Wilson said it best on his Facebook post: “In this day and age of spectacle theater, with big sets and lavish costumes, it’s so easy to forget what really keeps us in our seats: good material, great direction, and incredible acting. Red Turnip Theater’s Cock has all three.”

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Jamie was in the audience at the opening night of Cock at White Space in Makati City.

Cock is the award winning play by young British playwright Mike Bartlett. It premiered in 2009 at the Royal Court Theater in London and then quickly moved to New York.

Actually, while walking along the streets of Manhattan, I saw signs for Cock and found it too funny and intriguing. It certainly makes one go, “What’s that all about?”

Thanks to Red Turnip Theater, those of us in Manila can now enjoy this funny, entertaining, and accessible play. Actually, it’s extra accessible if you’ve been in awkward situations. For once, I was happy to be dazzled by a series of such circumstances mainly because the scenes are so sharply written, and a little bit because it’s not me going through those awkward moments.

Cock is the story of John (Topper Fabregas) who, during a rough patch with his partner M (Niccolo Manahan), gets physically and emotionally involved with a woman, W (Jenny Jamora). The three end up having to sort things out at dinner with M’s father, F (Audie Gemora.)

The nearly bare arena set up for the “stage,” with the audience seated very close to the actors, makes it not just minimalist but intimate—like we’re all allowed to eavesdrop on people’s secrets. The actors show a wonderful mastery of timing and using character nuances.

I can’t say anyone in the cast stood out—they were all superb. In terms of scenes though, I loved the way the sex scene between John and W was handled. It’s a sexy, realistic sex scene yet both actors remained fully clothed. And of course there is the final dinner scene where all the marvelous awkwardness happens.

This is just Red Turnip’s second production (they did Closer in October 2013 with a similar set up), and it looks like they’re carving out their own niche in the local theater scene.

Cock’s remaining play dates are March 14, 21,28 and April 4 at 9 p.m.; March 15, 29 and April 5 at 8 p.m.; and March 16, 23 and April 6 at 4p.m.; with a special closing gala on April 6 at 8 p.m.

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