The Cocoon: Capturing The Nuances Of Love At The Adelaide Fringe

If there’s one feeling to have invoked within The Cocoon, it’s bound to be a relieving sentiment of ‘wow, I’m not alone.’

This brilliant piece of immersive theatre manages to truthfully capture all of the joys, insecurities and bewilderment that we experience in contemporary romance. It is raw, passionate, and scarily accurate.

Not only does The Cocoon unearth innate moments of self-reflection, it will poignantly enlighten you to the perspectives you may not have considered—especially those of a different gender or sexual orientation to your own.

The show is divided into four perfectly crafted vignettes: two monologues and two couple dialogues—all of which encompass a different tale of love at its varying stages. The Cocoon’s Adelaide venue, The Adina Treasury tunnels, was faultless in this regard as, upon each part’s completion, we symbolically kept moving—only to be quickly immersed in another story by the impeccable conviction of our diverse cast.

We are first met with a woman whose first date has beseeched a rollercoaster of lust and inner turmoil. The vulnerabilities of early dating and how the experience doesn’t match our anticipation is perhaps most pertinently summed up by her initial exclamation of “F**king Disney!”

We’ve all been there.

From here, we become privy to the fading relationship of a young, heterosexual couple whose sheer adoration for one another is not enough to conquer their shortcomings of communication.

As we are made familiar with their desire to find a new level of emotional intimacy, you cannot help but laugh with the realisation of how clueless men and women are when we endeavour to meet or even understand expectations. An honest and considered response from either party can be easily received as bereft of substance or empathy, leaving frustration to quickly swell.

The Cocoon shows us that sometimes couples are barely even reading the same book, let alone on the same page.

The next magnificent monologue was from a middle-aged homosexual man whose partner had been through gender reassignment. It is here that we learn how his once ‘homo-normative’ relationship has required major compromise; a challenge further compounded by his endeavour to support his partner through an emotionally arduous time of transition. The piece was sensational, offering a passionate and visceral insight into the lives of many that are not often represented in the mainstream.

Our final vignette consisted of a same-sex couple where one of the women was coming to terms with the freedom of her sexuality after a lust-filled night. Her uncertainty of how to build on the feelings towards her lover is made all the more difficult by finding herself in a dynamic where she doesn’t really know the rules.

Kotryna Gesait, an NYC playwright and director, has written this show with the utmost sentience towards relationships and the frustration or elation that they invoke. Perhaps the shrewdest aspect here was not so much the ‘why’ (we probably all know that with emotional investment comes its inevitable fluctuations), but it is the ‘how’ that is truly captivating.

Gesait’s characters are oh-so-relatable in communicating their own emotional flaws, and how in order to truly lose yourself in a relationship we have to expose ourselves at our most vulnerable. The hardest part is building up the courage to do so. The dialogue is anything but pretentious or contrived, instead giving us some of the most heartfelt and perceptive theatre that one could wish to see.

The Cocoon will show you exactly why we are so wrapped up in finding love, but it will certainly not dance around how tumultuous the experience can be.

★★★★★    5/5 stars

The Cocoon is a new production that is looking to tour in the near future. Keep an eye out at various  Fringe and arts festivals.  

Images: The Cocoon Facebook

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