Profiles Theatre continues their 25th Anniversary season with the Midwest premiere of Cock by Mike Bartlett, directed by Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox. Performances are at The Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway, now playing through April 6, 2014.
In this tense comedy about sexual identity, Cock explores one man's choices about which path of love to pursue. When John takes a break from his longtime boyfriend, the last thing he expects is to fall in love with a woman. Trapped between two lovers, John feels the physical and emotional tug as neither party wants to lose the battle for his heart. John must make a choice as he navigates his sexuality, selfhood, and the intersection of the two.
Cock received its World premiere at London’s Royal Court Theatre, selling out its entire run in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs before opening in November 2009. Directed by James Macdonald, it won the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre as well as a nomination for Best Play at the 2010 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. The American premiere, also produced by Royal Court and staged by Macdonald, opened off-Broadway in May 2012 and received a nomination for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play from the Outer Critics Circle Awards and Outstanding Play for the 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards. Mike Bartett won the Old Vic New Voices Award for Artefacts at the Bush Theatre while Contractions at Royal Court received a nomination for the TMA Best New Play Award. Bartlett, a Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Royal Court in 2007, currently works as Associate Playwright at Paines Plough.
"I'm thrilled that Profiles Theatre is producing Cock this season,” says playwright Mike Bartlett. “It's about sex and sexuality, fighting, falling in love, and getting things wrong. It needs four clever actors, and an audience with a bold imagination, a big heart, and a capacity to laugh out loud when required. From what I've heard about Profiles, it'll have no trouble finding that audience, and they'll encounter a fantastic production of a play I care a huge amount about."
Directed by Profiles Artistic Director Darrell W. Cox, the cast of Cock features Guest Artists Larry Neumann, Jr. (The Iceman Cometh at Goodman Theatre), Eleni Pappageorge (El Stories with Waltzing Mechanics), Christopher Sheard (SS! Romeo and Juliet with Chicago Shakespeare) and Jake Szczepaniak (Burn This with Shattered Globe).
MIKE BARTLETT (Playwright) is currently Associate Playwright at Paines Plough. In 2011 he was writer-in-residence at The National Theatre and in 2007 he was Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Royal Court Theatre. His play Love, Love, Love won Best New Play in the 2011 Theatre Awards UK, and his play Cock won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre; he won the Writer's Guild Tinniswood and Imison prizes for Not Talking and the Old Vic New Voices Awards for Artefacts. Additional theatre credits include 13 (National Theatre), Decade (co-writer), Earthquakes in London, Contractors and My Child. His radio credits include: "The Core," "Heart," "Liam," "The Steps," "Love Contract," "Not Talking," and "The Family Man," all on BBC. Mike’s screen credits include "Earthquakes in London" and "Hometown." His directing credits include Honest by DC Moore. Mike is currently under commission from Headlong Theatre, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Hampstead Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre.
DARRELL W. COX (Director) is an Artistic Director of Profiles Theatre and most recently directed the holiday season revival as well as last year's 20th Anniversary productions of Hellcab by Will Kern. Prior to that, he directed the Midwest premiere of Bachelorette by Leslye Headland, the American premiere of The Wonderful World of Dissocia by Anthony Neilson, Profiles’ Midwest premieres of This is How it Goes, “Coax” and the titular piece from Things We Said Today and Profiles’ long running hit, Autobahn, all by Neil LaBute. Mr. Cox has directed numerous productions for Profiles over the years including the Midwest premieres of The Radiant Abyss by Angus MacLachlan and Wonder of the World by David Lindsay-Abaire. Other directorial credits for Profiles include The Water Engine, How the Other Half Loves and The Twilight Zone: The Series.
The designers for Cock are Katie-Bell Springmann (set), Mike Durst (lights), Jeffrey Levin (sound and original music), and Raquel Adorno (costumes), with Kaylie Honkala serving as stage manager and Scott Wolf as assistant director.
The cast for Cock features Guest Artists Larry Neumann, Jr., Eleni Pappageorge, Christopher Sheard and Jake Szczepaniak.
LARRY NEUMANN JR. (F) has performed in over 75 productions in his career. A native Chicagoan, audiences have seen Larry most recently in Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Profiles audiences will remember him as Mitch in their production of In God’s Hat. Larry will reprise his role of Ed Mosher in Robert Falls’ award-winning production of The Iceman Cometh with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy at BAM in January 2015. At Lookingglass Theatre, Larry portrayed baseball icon Branch Rickey in the critically acclaimed production Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting, as the title role in The Richard Nickel Story and as Austin Shagg in the music-infused production, The Shaggs. Mr. Neumann received Jeff awards for performances in A Moon for the Misbegotten as Phil Hogan at First Folio Theatre, in the epic, two-part production of The Cider House Rules as Dr. Larch and for his portrayal of the Dali Lama in Hitting For The Cycle both at Famous Door Theater. Other Chicago performances include The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio), The Puppetmaster of Ludz (Writer’s Theatre) and Underneath The Lintel (Noble Fool). He has appeared regionally at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Madison Repertory Theater and Kansas City Repertory. His film credits include Merry Gentleman, Stranger Than Fiction and Stir of Echoes. Larry is a member of Actors’ Equity.
ELENI PAPPAGEORGE (W) is makes her Profiles Theatre debut in Cock. She is a Waltzing Mechanics company member focusing these past few years on developing and performing original documentary theatre including EL Stories and Over My Dead Body. She’s also had the pleasure of working with Northlight, The Chicago Dramatists, Remy Bumppo, Second City, Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Circle Theatre and The Pre-Post Humanists. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
CHRISTOPHER SHEARD (John) is makes his Profiles Theatre debut with Cock. He was last seen in Chicago in SS! Romeo and Juliet with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and A Christmas Carol for Metropolis PAC. His regional credits include Skylight, Troilus and Cressida, Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Antony and Cleopatra with American Players Theatre as well as Henry IV Part One and A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Great River Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Florida State University with a BA in Theatre and received his MFA from The University of Illinois PATP.
JAKE SZCZEPANIAK (M) appears with Profiles Theatre for the first time. He was last seen in Unwilling and Hostile Instruments with Theater Seven, Burn This with Shattered Globe, Changes of Heart with Remy Bumppo and Girl You Know It’s True with Pavement Group. He has also worked with Baliwick Chicago, Circle Theater, Red Tape Theater, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Pride Films and Plays and (re)Discover theater. Jake is a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana acting program and an artistic associate with Pavement Group.
“Recommended! Mike Bartlett's arresting and intensely sexual play COCK is the kind of no-holds-barred affair that is right in the Profiles Theatre wheelhouse. Director Darrell W. Cox has cast a trio of newcomers, all of whom jump into this assignment with their eyes blazing, mouths moving and feathers flying, unleashed no doubt by a director who opened the doors of their cages wide. Katie Springmann's set is truly extraordinary. I suspect this will be a hit for Profiles and deservedly so. The show is stocked with hot young talent!”
-Chris Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
“Highly Recommended! Michael Bartlett’s provocatively titled Cock is receiving a blistering Midwest premiere at Profiles Theatre. The fearless, bravura acting in this production — under the fiery, take-no-prisoners direction of Darrell W. Cox — is the draw. The actors, whose nerve endings are almost visible, are unremittingly riveting. The design team, most notably Katie-Bell Springmann’s award-worthy set, is tops!”
-Hedy Weiss, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“Highly Recommended! The piece’s physicality is fascinating, as the actors prowl the ring, sizing each other up like warriors and retreating to their corners as needed. All four actors are superb. Newcomer Christopher Sheard is terrific, anchoring the piece in John’s crippling blend of self-absorption and self-doubt. His confident performance of unconfidence helps gives Cock its powerful thrust!”
-Kris Vire, TIMEOUT CHICAGO
“Highly Recommended! It's not what you think. Well, it kind of is what you think, but probably not in the way you're thinking it. Surrounded, as the girlfriend says, by a "halo of disorganization," John’s very shiftiness opens the way to engrossing struggles and sharp truths. The cast hold nothing back!”
-Tony Adler, CHICAGO READER
“Highly Recommended! Mike Bartlett’s piece looks at the ironclad categories we put each other in, the problems that occur when a man begins to doubt the basics of his sexual identity and the push-back he receives from those who claim to love him. Both Szczepaniak and Sheard negotiate the language and intensity skillfully and Pappageorge nails the sweet quirkiness that makes for an interesting counterpoint!”
-Lisa Buscani, NEW CITY
“Highly Recommended! Darrell W. Cox has drilled his four actors to olympic-level physical and verbal agility, so that even when the dialogue flies at blizzard density, there's never a misstep or mumble. The cast is uniformly excellent, but look for this to be a breakout play for Jake Szczepaniak!”
-Mary Shen Barnidge, WINDY CITY TIMES
“Highly Recommended! It's funny and ultimately quite touching, but more than anything, the reason it isn't what one would expect is because it doesn't fit into traditional boxes of theatrical genres. Darrell W. Cox uses his skill in a new way by heightening the reality, taking realistic situations and conversations but upping the volume and intensity to suit the play's central concept. Cock is a great piece for this company and an occasion to take what they do well and spread their wings!
-John Olson, TALKIN’ BROADWAY
“Highly Recommended! The audience’s first impression is how extraordinarily Katie Bell-Springmann has gone beyond mere scenic design for this award-winning play - she’s created a completely immersive environment for both actor and patron. Mr. Cox’s must-see production about deciding to decide is sharp, sexy, surprisingly funny and simply breathtaking!”
-Colin Douglas, CENTERSTAGE
“Highly Recommended! Fully charged in Darrell W. Cox’s manic, no-holds-barred Midwest premiere, playwright Mike Bartlett’s one-act depicts a war not just between the sexes but within them. The real payoff is electric acting from these four well-honed pugilist-performers. Christopher Sheard’s winsomely romantic uncertainty is the perfect foil for Jake Szczepaniak’s quick-silver, spitfire put-downs and zingers, with Eleni Pappageorge properly pushy and provocative as the odd girl out and Larry Neumann, Jr. likably loyal as the dad. Game on!"
-Lawrence Bommer, STAGE AND CINEMA
“Highly Recommended! Over the course of the play’s tense 80 minutes, Mike Bartlett mines the depths of John’s passion, pain, and confusion, building a riveting character study that Profiles brings to the stage with intense vigor. Brilliantly staged in a cockfighting ring, the raw physicality of Darrell W. Cox’s production emphasizes the primal elements of the script, turning these human lovers into animals that peacock for attention!”
-Oliver Sava, CHICAGO THEATER BEAT
“Highly Recommended! The incredible urgency that director Darrell W. Cox has infused into the production manages to put a unique spin on the world of love, lust and the choices we all have to make. The terrific script is full of big laughs and spot on hysterical metaphors. Profiles Theatre has given us a reason to leave our homes and engage in our own battle, of fighting the Chicago Winter!”
-Rand Ringgenberg, CHICAGO STAGE STANDARD
“Highly Recommended! COCK operates in contemporary territory with its examination of sexual identity and sexual confusion, but rarely do we witness the topic propelled by such energy and passion and wit. Darrell W. Cox’s directing extracts four no holds barred performances from his ensemble!”
-Dan Zeff, CHICAGOLAND THEATER REVIEWS
The titles for our 26th Season will be announced soon. Profiles will once again offer its popular FLEX PASS to offer big savings on the exciting new shows. Get a 5 Ticket Pass for $125 or get a 10 Ticket Pass for $200. Save up to $200 off the price at the door and the passes are good for any performance! Tickets can be used in any combination of quantity and date throughout the season with advance reservations. Flex Passes will soon be available by calling the box office at (773) 549-1815.
Our intimate theatre, located just north of Wrigleyville, is conveniently located one block west of Lake Shore Drive, the Red Line at the Sheridan El stop, and numerous bus routes.