Cock | Profiles Theatre, Main Stage | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Jake Szczepaniak, Christopher Sheard

Jake Szczepaniak, Christopher Sheard

Michael Brosilow

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through June 29 2014
Price: $35-$40
profilestheatre.org
It's not what you think. Well, it kind of is what you think, but probably not in the way you're thinking it. For this Profiles Theatre staging of the 2009 script by Brit playwright Mike Bartlett, the audience sits in a rough wood-and-corrugated-aluminum amphitheater such as you'd expect to find at a Tijuana cockfight. Out in the hexagonal pit stand John and one or more of his loving adversaries: The boyfriend who browbeats him but also serves up cheesecake and satisfyingly erotic psychodrama. The supportive girlfriend who initiates him into the pleasures of opposite-gender sex but demands that he grow up. The boyfriend's father, who intervenes when he sees John tipping away from his son. They all get their licks in during scenes punctuated—like rounds in a boxing match—by the ding of a bell. Surrounded, as the girlfriend says, by a "halo of disorganization," John can be an infuriatingly irresolute hero. And yet his very shiftiness opens the way to engrossing struggles and sharp truths. Though director Darrell Cox maintains an odd, oddly distracting prudishness when it comes to the (not quite) nude scenes in this sexually charged show, his cast hold nothing back. —Tony Adler

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