Final Week for “Cock” at Pittsburgh’s Kinetic Theatre | Pittsburgh City Paper

Final Week for “Cock” at Pittsburgh’s Kinetic Theatre

British playwright Mike Bartlett’s intriguing little 2009 work is good theater that has something to add to our ongoing discussion about sexual identity.

click to enlarge Thomas Constantine Moore and Erika Strasburg in "Cock" - PHOTO COURTESY OF KINETIC THEATRE CO.
Photo courtesy of Kinetic Theatre Co.
Thomas Constantine Moore and Erika Strasburg in "Cock"
It’s an edgy dark comedy about a young man named John who, after a breakup with his longtime male partner, falls in love with a woman, then tries to go back to his ex. The play’s climax, at once hilarious and wrenching, is a dinner where the three try to hash things out, joined by an unexpected guest.

Cock, directed by Kinetic founder and artistic director Andrew Paul, is cleverly minimalist. It’s set in a sawdust-filled ring (like a cockfight pit), with no props and barely any lighting changes. While the actors gesture normally when conversing, most other actions (sex, eating) are only indicated verbally, not performed. And the fast-paced 90-minute show is intermissionless, with what would normally be scene changes instead rendered as live “jump cuts” indicated by a ringing bell.

While those choices add texture, the play comes down to John’s equivocation – which turns out to be more complicated than it looks, and bound up with the binary way we think of sexual identity (gay vs. straight). Bartlett probes this issue intelligently, though without necessarily drawing any conclusions for the audience.

The cast excels; Thomas Constantine Moore, who plays John, is a Carnegie Mellon alum, as are Ethan Hova, who plays M, his male partner, and Erika Strasburg, who plays W. The ensemble is completed by stage veteran and local favorite Sam Tsoutsouvas.

Here’s Ted Hoover’s review for CP.

Cock has five more performances at Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, tomorrow night through Sunday, including matinees on both weekend days.

Tickets are $20-36 and are available here.

Playwrights Theatre is located on the third floor of 937 Liberty Ave., Downtown.