THE NEW YORK TIMES
“Cockfight Play” is not the title of the terrific, tense little comedy by Mike Bartlett that opened on Thursday night at the Duke on 42nd Street. Its real name, which is only one syllable, is unprintable here, and “Cockfight Play” is being used in advertisements in family newspapers.
Yet there is occasionally truth in even the subterfuges of advertising. And as it happens, the publicized title is an accurate description for the experience of this feisty, hypnotic and oddly energizing exercise in emotional carnage, which has been directed (by James Macdonald) and acted (by a four-member ensemble) with a brute focus that suggests to-the-death battles of penned animals.
-Ben Brantley, The New York Times
TIME OUT NEW YORK
Bisexuality is the no-man’s-land of erotic identity: a shifting zone that can inspire distrust or even mockery from partisans in the homo or hetero camps. Often it’s considered a dodge by the self-deluded and semicloseted, or else it’s sanctioned by straight men to vicariously enjoy lesbian spectacles. Mike Bartlett’s Cock isn’t really about the bi lifestyle. Although John (Cory Michael Smith) begins an affair with W (Amanda Quaid) while briefly separated from M (Jason Butler Harner), the real theme is sexual power. John loves being loved, even if it drives his paramours into violent agonies.
-David Cote, Time Out New York
NEW YORK POST
Never mind its provocative title: “Cock” is about love. Things get complicated as people fall in and out of it,
but this wonderful 90-minute show renders the emotional mess with great simplicity.
-Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post
A cockfight is a contest between two gamecocks, often conducted in a circular arena called a cockpit. That partially explains the wry title and unusual staging of Mike Bartlett's edgy play, "Cock," but of course, there's more to it. While much of the focus is on confrontations among characters in a love triangle, the thoughtful, Olivier Award-winning play, which premiered in London in 2009, is more deeply about the folly of forcing someone to limit his sexual identity. The painfully funny, intense production that opened Thursday night off-Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street is crisply staged by James Macdonald, who also directed the London show.
-Jennifer Farrar, Associated Press
When John and his boyfriend take a break, the last thing he expects is to suddenly meet the woman of his dreams. Now he has a big choice to make.
Tickets for COCK are available by calling The Duke on 42nd Street Box Office at 646-223-3010 or online at www.Dukeon42.org Box office hours are Tuesday-Fridays from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Saturdays from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM and Sundays from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
The performance schedule is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm and 7pm.
For more information about COCK, visit www.CockfightPlay.com.
About the organization: The New 42nd Street
Founded in 1990, The New 42nd Street is an independent, nonprofit organization charged with long-term responsibility for seven historic theaters on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. In addition to running The New Victory Theater, The New 42nd Street built and operates the NEW 42ND STREET® Studios a ten-story building of rehearsal studios, offices and a 199-seat theater named The Duke on 42nd Street for national and international performing arts companies. Since its opening on June 21, 2000, the NEW 42ND STREET Studios has been fully occupied by both nonprofit and commercial theater, dance and opera companies. With these institutions and the other properties under its guardianship, The New 42nd Street plays a pivotal role in fostering the continued revival of this famous street at the Crossroads of the World.
About the theater: The Duke on 42nd Street
The Duke on 42nd Street is an intimate 199-seat black box theater built and operated by The New 42nd Street. Since opening in 2000, the theater has been available on a rental basis to international and domestic nonprofit organizations to present their work. Companies that have presented at The Duke on 42nd Street theater include: Theatre for a New Audience; Playwrights Horizons; Lincoln Center Great Performers; The NYC Tap Festival; and 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Project. In October 2008, Lincoln Center Theater launched “LCT3” at The Duke on 42nd Street. NEW 42ND STREET presentations at The Duke on 42nd Street have included: Karole Amitage’s Armitage Gone! Dance; Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Rose Rage; Naked Angels and Dan Klores’s Armed and Naked in America; and Classical Theater of Harlem’s production of Langston Hughes’s Black Nativity. Notable NEW VICTORY® presentations at The Duke on 42nd Street include Joan McLeod’s The Shape of a Girl, Steppenwolf Theater Company’s The Bluest Eye and the smash hit, Once and For All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen, presented by The New Victory Theater in cooperation with The Under the Radar Festival.
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