GALLERY: Student-run play brings a new kind of love story


Cole Grecco

Colin Kissel, playing John and George Ivan, playing John’s boyfriend rehearsing for “Cock” which opens March 13.

Most people don’t usually get inspired by break ups, but that’s what prompted senior B.F.A acting major Clayton Winstead to take on the challenge of directing the British play, “Cock” by Mike Bartlett.

Winstead quickly fell in love with the language of the play and purchased the script a few months later where it sat in his library until just over a year ago.

“I directed something in the studio theater a year ago,” Winstead said. “Even before that one closed I knew I wanted to do the script.”

The play follows John, the only named character, who has just broken up with his boyfriend. John then begins dating a woman and after asking his ex-boyfriend for advice starts dating both of them.

“It’s a story mostly about discovering who you are as a person, what your sexuality is, but also a commentary on how sometimes you just love people for who they are not for what they are,” stage manager Katarina Anhofer, senior theater major, said.

When rehearsals for “Cock” began, the play had a run time of two hours. However, Anhofer said it has now been cut down to 84 minutes thanks to Winstead.

“He had a bunch of exercises that he had the actors do that involved picking up cues,”Anhofer said. “It was slower because it was more conversational but they wanted it at a faster pace because the dialogue is really witty.”

In addition to speeding up the play, the cast also had to get used to doing the play in-the-round, where the audience is on all sides of the production, which Winstead said was an interesting challenge.

“You try not to stand next to someone on the same plane because then you’re blocking their faces from the audience,” Hallie Hargus said, who is a senior B.F.A. musical theater major and John’s female love-interest in the play.  “You have to stand caddy corner to give the audience the view of someone’s face. It’s a non-natural way to stand.”

However, while Hargus and Nate Doninger, senior B.F.A. acting major and the father of John’s male love-interest, said that doing the performance in-the-round takes some getting used to, and both agreed that it is easier.

“You don’t have to feel like you’re presenting to an audience, you’re just in this room and people are observing you,” Doninger said.

Three members of the four person cast are seniors, which Winstead said meant he was able to go into the production with a lot of respect and trust.

“We’ve all known each other since we came in the program four years ago, it’s nice working together,” Hargus said.

The group has been able to have some fun with what will be the last production at NKU for many of them.

“Our breaks are usually pretty goofy,” Winstead said.“That’s a good thing, with a script that’s a little more serious.”