The Challenges of Producing Cock

Almost every time Stephen hands me a script one of the first things he says to me is “It’s a really simple script.” Now he said this about Penelope, which involved building a swimming pool onstage at the Cultch, festooning it with snacks and then setting a barbecue on fire in it. So I’m always a bit skeptical.

Sean Devine, Kyle Jespersen, Alex Ferguson, and Patrick Keating in Penelope, 2013.

Sean Devine, Kyle Jespersen, Alex Ferguson, and Patrick Keating in Penelope, 2013.                                “A really simple script”

But Cock really is a simple show. There is no set, no props, and no fire effects. But it does come with its own challenge. Mainly, the title of the play.

It wasn’t until we got in to writing our first grant for the production that we realized how absurd it was going to be. Everything turns into a double entendre. “In the fall of 2015 Rumble will bring Mike Bartlett’s Cock to Vancouver.” doesn’t work, and neither do many of the adjectives we often use, “The exciting Cock“, “the gripping Cock”, “Cock is sure to be a stimulating evening of theatre.” The puns were funny, and then annoying, and then funny again. Over the last six months we have done a lot of editing.

We also have to be very careful with Googling. While a plain search of the play title leads to stories about past productions, clicking on the image search is a terrible idea. The same happens with variations on the search or with hashtags (we’re gong with #cocktheplay to keep it clean). And we are honestly not sure how many of our emails are ending up in spam folders along with ads for under the table pharmaceuticals.

On the home front, my toddler daughter has told me more than once that “Mama is doing Cock at work.” I have no idea what her babysitter thinks I do.

But we have had the joy of opening emails from our designer to find this Cock_video-01

and we now have a whole folder of pictures of roosters on our server.

stock-photo-colorful-rooster-isolated-on-white-background-243189904 stock-photo-crossbreed-rooster-crowing-pekin-and-wyandotte-against-white-background-121378822

And at this point in production, we’re just very excited to be producing such a fantastic play. The actors are doing brilliant work in rehearsal and we think people are going to love it. We’re even looking forward to hearing your puns.

We open next week. Are you coming to see our Cock?

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