• Karen Pauley

TIP Staged Reading Series: Cock

I am directing Cock, by Mike Bartlett, as part of Tokyo International Players (TIP) staged reading series. This will be performed live at Our Space, Hatagaya, on the 13th - 15th May, 2022.


I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on material that is very different from the family friendly musicals that I usually work on. When I was directing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang I was unhappy with the book as I felt it was cut and pasted together from multiple productions and lacked the precise deliberate use of language that I see in contemporary plays. I am drawn to plays that are language based and that are not about theatrical spectacle, though I do like that in musicals. Cock is supposed to be performed without set, mime, or props. It's all about the arguments and the discussions that take place between the characters.


The show contains graphic depictions of sex and contains strong language so I'm glad that it has a provocative name as it makes it likely that the audience will not be expecting a family friendly show. Based on the concept of a cock fight the name does suit but there have been past productions where the name was changed to be The Cockfight Play.


I was surprised to find out that there is a production of this play currently on in the West End. We had gotten the rights for the reading for a March production, that had to be postponed because of the quasi state of emergency in Tokyo, so we would have been on stage before the opening of the West End production. We struggle to get the rights of pieces that have high profile performance and I was thrilled to see that it's being produced and that it's not just me who felt that the piece was still relevant.



John has been in a stable relationship with his boyfriend for a number of years. But when he takes a break, he accidentally falls in love with a woman. Torn between the two, filled with guilt and conflicting emotions, he doesn’t know which way to turn. His boyfriend is willing to wait for him to make a decision, but so is his girlfriend. And both are prepared to fight to keep him. As the pressure mounts, a dinner with both parties is arranged, and everyone wants to know: Who is John? What is he? And what will his decision be?


Friday, May 13th at 7pm

Saturday, May 14th at 2pm and 7pm

Sunday, May 15th at 2pm.


Tickets are 2500 yen with advance reservation. No walk-ins will be admitted.


Strict prevention protocols for COVID-19 will be in place, including vaccine and mask requirements for audience members. This show includes graphic references to sex and frank discussions of sexuality. It is most suitable for guests of high school age and up.

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