The Cockfighter 

Sonny Cantrell is about to turn thirteen, a pivotal birthday in a boy's life: That bullet train called change feels like it slaloms on at ever higher speeds. Sonny's father Jake aims to toughen up his son; Jake wants Sonny to learn to be a man, which in his eyes entails navigating and mastering violence. Cockfighting provides the opportunity. Frank Manley's novel The Cockfighter explores atavistic rites of masculine passage, as codified through certain repellent bloodsports. Manley's book has been adapted for the stage by Vincent Murphy and receives its St. Louis premiere via the West End Players Guild.

8 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. (Apr. 10-19). Union Avenue Christian Church (733 Union Boulevard; 314-667-5686 or www.westendplayers.org). $20..
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 10. Continues through April 19, 2015

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