The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 2nd

LAB! Theatre's ‘COCK’ pushes boundaries of sexuality

Camille Oswald (left) plays W and Sam Fletcher (right) plays John in Lab! Theatre's production of Cock.
Buy Photos Camille Oswald (left) plays W and Sam Fletcher (right) plays John in Lab! Theatre's production of Cock.

“COCK’s” provocative take on sexuality exceeds the punning title that heads the playbill.

LAB! Theatre’s latest production delves into the tensions of romance with a certain kind of love triangle often left out of the mainstream.

At its roots, “COCK” is a flipped story of an old tale. Instead of a man leaving his wife for another man, “COCK’s” plot revolves around John, a gay man in a long-term relationship, who finds himself attracted, for the first time, to a woman.

The play’s cast consists of only four actors and follows this love triangle while working with the typical labels of heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality in an intimately non-apologetic way.

“The play raises the issue that there is a lot of gray area when it comes to attraction and sexuality, and there’s a lot of things that you can’t necessarily put a label on,” said actress and freshman dramatic art major Camille Oswald.

“Some people think that you can label people while others think that you don’t have to.”

Oswald also said the play attempts to deviate from distinct labels such as “gay,” “straight” and “bisexual.”

“This play discusses the idea that maybe those labels aren’t necessary, and (it) explores the effect that those labels have on people,” she said.

“Specifically, are those labels necessary, and do they limit people more than they liberate them?”

Junior dramatic art major Kristi Stout will be making her directing debut in this production.

“(The play) has this huge message about how sexuality is a spectrum and we should not compartmentalize people, and it’s an interesting discussion that most people can understand,” she said.

Stout also said she feels that when sexuality is taken out of the picture, anyone can relate to the conflicts in the play.

“At the heart of it, I think everyone has been in a situation where they would do something they normally wouldn’t do, just because they are so emotionally involved,” she said.

“These characters will stop at nothing to get (John) to love them, and I feel as if everyone has been in or had experience with that situation before.”

The performance will take place at Linda’s Bar and Grill on Franklin Street. Sophomore history major Sam Fletcher, who plays the centerpiece of this dramatic love triangle, said Stout has done an incredible job incorporating the unique stage into the play so that all the conventional sight lines, blocking and pantomiming of the play are maintained.

“It has been a really fun time using the space to its advantages,” Stout said. “Sitting only feet away from the action, you feel as if you’re so intimately close that you are intruding on these people’s lives, and you can feed on that raw energy.”

Fletcher also said he’s excited to see how audience members react and connect to the play’s content.

“In a liberal place such as Chapel Hill, I think the audience will really understand and appreciate the discussion of sexuality as a spectrum that undergoes through my character’s conflict,” he said.

arts@dailytarheel.com



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