September, 2014 / Author:

Photo from Cock by Giovanni Navarro

 

“Initially we were drawn to Cock,” said Theatre by the River’s artistic director Mel Marginet about the play written by Mike Bartlett.

The Winnipeg theatre company then came across Bull, another play by Bartlett that dealt with similar themes. They thought about doing each play consecutive years, but ultimately decided to treat Winnipeggers to something a bit more special.

Cock and Bull will be performed in repertory. This means each will be performed by the same actors alternating nights.

This has been difficult for the crew, said Marginet. As one of the actors, she knows first hand how much more difficult it has been learning lines for two plays at once. But it’s also been a lot of fun.

“It’s been so rewarding to challenge myself,” said Marginet. Sometimes they practice both shows in one night, taking only 20 minute breaks in between to switch masks.

Cock focuses on a man in a relationship with another man. When they break-up, he falls in love with a woman. That relationship fails and he goes back to his original lover, but feelings for the woman remain.

“It’s sort of a romantic-comedy/drama that turns into a farce,” said Marginet.

She said it’s about the younger generations who view sexuality as more fluid.

“We’re a much more open-ended generation, but with that comes a lot of questions.”

Written as a companion piece, Bull’s characters are the same age and gender, but it is set in an office. In the cutthroat business world of this play, the characters are waiting to see which one of the three is going to be laid off.

Marginet recommends that theatre-goers watch both. And from ticket sales so far, most people are planning to do just that.

“It’s kind of like reading two books by the same author back-to-back,” said Marginet.

Besides getting to experience repertory theatre, the shows also offer an unusually intimate setting for the audience.

The shows take place in Platform Centre at 100 Arthur Street September 13 to October 4.

“It’s a non-theatrical space,” said Marginet about the gallery. The audience, which won’t be more than 40 people, will be a foot away from the actors at times.

For further description of the plays and to buy tickets, go to theatrebytheriver.com.


 

– Meg Crane is the senior online editor of OutWords magazine and editor-in-chief of Cockroach.

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