The title of Sarah Gibbins’s Cocked refers to the act of engaging a gun, and indeed a gun is central to the plot line. Oddly enough, the titular gun is central to the most notable flaw in Gibbins’s otherwise engaging script.
The action revolves around Taylor (Kelli Simpkins, providing Chicago with another strong performance following her work in Timeline’s Spill), a high-octane corporate lawyer who begins the play with a knife in hand, ready to strike an intruder in her condo. The realization that the intruder is her brother Frank (Mike Tepeli) only slightly dissuades Taylor from using the knife.
David Auburn’s Proof made me feel a little bit good about myself when I saw it twice on Broadway in 2001. Despite my being a Calculus drop-out, I’m not so different from Catherine, Robert, and Hal—math geniuses that talk about their insecurities and argue about whether to eat pasta for dinner. I can even understand the basic tenet of Catherine’s proof, which uncovers something about Germain primes (take a prime number, double it, add one, and you get another prime number… simple, right?)
On Broadway, since the year 2000, only three of the 16 Tony Award winners for best musical focus on a woman as the main character—Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002); Hairspray (2003); and Fun Home (2015). Certainly a number of Broadway hit musicals include complex female characters and female-centered relationships, but for every Wicked there are two or three musicals like Spamalot or Gentleman’s Guide… shows where female characters are relegated to flat supporting roles.