Cock, Cock... Who's There?

Cock, cock… Who’s there? is a multimedia, autobiographical documentary-cum-social experiment all about writer-performer Samira Elagoz’s relationship with men after being raped. In absolutely no way is it an easy watch, whether it’s the extreme sexualisation of her as a teenager or the well-intentioned, though deeply problematic, conversations with friends and family on the day of her ‘rape anniversary’. And that’s all in the first 10-15 minutes.

It feels wrong to try and judge a piece that ultimately forces me to look in the mirror back at my own male gaze.

At the centre of the show is Elagoz’s description of how she stopped being able to fully connect with men and started to ‘experience men experiencing me’ instead. The multimedia aspect not only gives us an insight into this dissociative state of existence but also throws the male gaze back at us to startling effect. Every apparently innocuous word and gesture from supposedly ‘nice guys’ are suddenly charged not only with aggression but the very real and threatening possibility of violence. At once they feel remarkably artificial, insultingly performative and loaded with ulterior motives yet also all too real and commonplace. Every man and teenage boy should watch and learn from it.

While this is a vital education for men and seems to have been therapeutic for Elagoz, there’s the uncomfortable question of if Cock cock... simply dredges up trauma for the women in the audience without any any sense of care or support for them. I won’t mansplain if this is empowering or constructive for women but it’s a point that needs raising.

What ultimately can this review bring to the conversation? It feels wrong to try and judge a piece that ultimately forces me to look in the mirror back at my own male gaze. So how am I meant to respond? In horror, I suppose, though on the other hand we all know that this is reality – post #MeToo ignorance isn’t an option, but it’s one thing to know something in the abstract and another to actually experience it.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

An award-winning performance about violence and intimacy. Samira Elagoz takes us along on her personal research project across three continents. From online platforms to close encounters, she showcases gender relations in their brutal and wonderful ambivalence and takes the audience on her journey of regaining power, reinventing autonomous expression of sexuality and attempts to relate back to men after being raped. Confrontational, unrestrainedly funny, and deeply touching. She explores desire, the power of femininity and the male gaze in a world in which the virtual and the real are inextricably intertwined.

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