Cockfight: a review
Cockfight is a darkly funny play about a rooster and trauma bonds.

Cockfight, a play that is about a rooster, but also mostly about trauma, opened at Studio Erindale Theatre on February 15. Written by Canadian playwright, Kat Sandler, and directed by Aaron Jan, Cockfight follows the Chiavetti siblings—Mike (Vivi Valo), Charlie (Sean Lee), and August (Gabby Ibrahim)—as they try to change their luck with the help of a fighting rooster. 

It is revealed early in the play that the siblings are foster siblings who chose the name Chiavetti after their foster dad. Mike takes on the role of a protector, determined to make sure that his brothers know how to fight, but he struggles to find legal work, instead opting for pyramid schemes and the underworld of cockfighting. Charlie is heartbroken after his girlfriend, Ramona, leaves him. Jobless and with a self-inflicted broken toe, he spends his time reading letters from Ramona, doing push-ups, stacking cans, and hoping to become more “accountable.” August, often referred to as Auggie, is the smallest of the three and the only one with a legitimate job, working as a dishwasher. He has a crush on a server at work named Ingrid (Maya Lerman). 

The first act is Waiting for Godot-esque, as the Chiavetti’s await the arrival of the witlessly nicknamed Scarman Devilman (Andrew Easterling) and the fighting rooster, also named Ingrid. The climax of the play comes during Act II with a bloody brawl between the Chiavetti siblings, proving that no one can hurt you quite as deeply as family. 

I was not sure what to expect from a show named Cockfight. Leading up to the play, I wondered if the show would feature a rooster or if it was some sort of double entendre. I was pleased when it was revealed that a rooster was the main focal point of this darkly funny play, but the depth of the characters and the situation was so much more than the rooster-related jokes scattered throughout it. 

Through Ibrahim’s portrayal, it is evident that August has experienced immense pain, which has stunted his character, rendering him nervous and on the brink of snapping. Lee’s performance of Charlie highlighted the character’s fragility even though he is the “biggest” of the siblings and Valo’s portrayal of Mike showcased a person who is just trying to do right by their chosen family, no matter how misguided their actions may be. It is hard to not feel for the Chiavettis in their attempt to find success. Beyond the core family, Lerman’s Ingrid produces another rich character hiding her sadness behind her boredom.

The physicality of the actors as well as the detailed set, which reads more garage than cozy apartment, generate an overall sense of unease. The unease is further exposed to the audience with the entrance of the bike short-clad Scarman Devilman. Easterling’s comedic timing as Scarman Devilman is brilliant, as he emphasizes the silliness of the character while reminding the audience that he is still a dangerous criminal. The balance of fear and laughter is abundant throughout the second act of the play.

Theatre Erindale’s Production of Cockfight is filled with a ton of laughs and heart. It is truthful in the sense that people often hurt those they care about the most. From the Rat Pack music to the sandy cockfight ring in the living room, this play is one that keeps the audience on its toes in the funniest yet most gut-wrenching ways. 

Catch Cockfight at Erindale Studio Theatre until March 2!

Theatre Erindale Correspondent (Volume 50); Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor (Volume 49) — Megan is majoring in English with minors in Creative Writing and History. She served as Associate Arts & Entertainment Editor for Volume 49. Her love of the arts and experience in theatre and music are the backbone of Megan’s work with The Medium. Aside from her academics and journalistic endeavours, Megan can be found writing original music for streaming platforms, playing her pink Fender Jazz Bass, writing spooky detective stories, longing for the mountains of BC, and watching Disney+. Her preferred instruments of writing are her notes app and her 1970s Erika typewriter. You can connect with Megan on InstagramX, and LinkedIn.


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