In the Ring, With a Decision to Make

July 6, 2012 12:00 AM

In the Ring, With a Decision to Make

" A play with no set or props, and actors who wear only street clothes, is spurring a conversation about the nebulous space between "gay" and "straight," a subject that’s been known to confound otherwise well-adjusted urbanites, who sometimes prefer their sexual identities more cut and dried.

The basic setup of “The Cockfight Play” (a wholesome rewrite of the play’s actual title) is this: John and his boyfriend, named only “M,” decide to take a break. That’s when John meets “W,” a woman, and entanglements ensue. The tense comedy by playwright Mike Bartlett is on the boards at the Duke on 42nd Street, where a 200-seat, unpainted wooden amphitheater has been constructed in what is normally an open theatrical rehearsal space.


“The Cockfight Play” includes one of the more intimate sex scenes offered off-Broadway, where John and “W” circle each other with alternating affection, hostility and timidity, not unlike a couple of cocks thrown into a ring ... which is exactly the point. Here, in this round, makeshift space, there are no places to hide "

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