Cooped-up blokes

• Joshua Thomson and Gavin Webber go head to head in Cockfight. Photo by Darcy Grant.

A CROSS between a cage fight and The Office, Cockfight explores masculinity through the medium of dance.

The show’s theme – an older male being challenged by a younger buck in the corporate world – is an old one, but the aggressive dance routines give Cockfight an original twist, with bodies slamming into office furniture and walls.

“We work with real physical risk…and the audience knows the risk is real,” says Gavin Webber, who plays the older office worker and choreographed the two-man show.

“Generational truths are exposed and unpacked.

“A flash of bared teeth: the desperation of needing to prove yourself versus the need to hold on to what you’ve got.”

Dancer Joshua Thomson, the young office buck, is good mates with Webber in real life, and their friendship inspired Cockfight.

“In dancer years I’m like 105,” says the 51-year-old Webber. “You have a point in time you need to hand the baton to a younger generation; which is hard to do.”

The dance routines and dialogue were developed in improvisational sessions that started with an “innocuous” handshake.

“As a man you understand a handshake is about domination,” Webber says.

“We explore that moment in time and show what is under the surface.”

At its heart, Cockfight is about men feeling threatened by changes in society that undermine their traditional roles.

“I think masculinity is in crisis…this show talks about something close to men which is their vulnerability. We need it now more than ever.”

Cockfight is on at the State Theatre, September 12 to 22, as part of the Move Me Festival.

Tickets from $35 at ptt.wa.gov.au/venues/state-theatre-centre-of-wa/whats-on/

By JENNY D’ANGER

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