BWW Review: Intrepid Theatre Lab Debuts in Sacramento with COCK
Intrepid Theatre Lab, comprised of artistic director Casey McClellan and producer Greg Foro, made its Sacramento debut with Cock, a play by Mike Bartlett. Double entendres aside, this is a play that is not actually about cock (ok, maybe a little), but rather about being labeled and put into a box. It examines what happens to one man whose ideas about himself change and he no longer knows who he is.
I found that this show, with its minimalistic approach, was something completely new to me. The author states, "There is no scenery, no props, no furniture, and no mime. Instead, the focus is entirely on the drama of the scene." That is exactly what happened. Staged in an intimate venue with a performance area reminiscent of a cock-fighting arena, I could see spittle flying from the mouths of the actors as they were engaged in scenes of passion. It was like watching 90 minutes of intimacy and feeling voyeuristic.
John, played by Kyle Burrow, is a young man teetering between two worlds. On the one side is his long-term relationship with "M" (Eduardo Esqueda). On the other is his new-found, exciting sexual experience with a female, "W" (Sarah Rothaus). Putting pressure on him to stay with M is M's father, "F" (Kevin Johnson).
John is being pulled from all angles. Now unsure of his sexuality, he faces an agonizing decision. Is he gay, bisexual, straight? Does he stay in his stale, emotionally abusive, yet familiar relationship with M or go forward with the dream of the house, vacation in Paris, and children with W? As the show progressed and John became more and more indecisive, I wanted to scream at him to grow a pair and throw both the controlling, angry M and the sugary sweet W to the curb in order to be on his own for a while so he can discover himself.
The actors' passion for this show was palpable and came through in their performances. Esqueda's angst and actual tears made me feel that I was intruding upon some private moments. Director McClellan again brought out his actors' deepest emotions and created a thought-provoking production.
Cock is running April 27-29 and May 4-6 at The Brickhouse Gallery & Art Complex at 2837 36th St., Sacramento, 95817. Tickets can be purchased at www.intrepidtheatrelab.brownpapertickets.com. More information can be found at www.intrepidtheatrelab.org.
Photo credit: Eleakis & Elder Photography