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Cloud 9

Cloud 9
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Caryl Churchill
Publisher: Samuel French (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 112
Pub. Date: 2010
ISBN-10: 0573618747
ISBN-13: 9780573618741
Cast Size: 3 female, 4 male (with doubling)

About the Play:

Cloud 9 was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Cloud 9 is a full-length comedy by Caryl Churchill. Unexpected trysts. Gender swaps. Role reversals. Power plays. Victorian repression clashes with liberal expression as we follow a British family from 19th century colonial Africa to London in the 1980s. The first international hit by Caryl Churchill, the provocative comedy explores the ever-changing world of sexual politics as it asks what it takes for each of us to reach our own Cloud 9.

Cloud 9 is a gender-bending farce about sexual politics and relationships. Here we are in 1880 somewhere in British Africa in the Victorian era as portrayed in old movies, plays and novels. There is Clive, a British colonial administrator, his wife Betty (played by a man), their daughter Victoria (a rag doll), Clive's best friend Harry an intrepid explorer, Mrs. Saunders who runs about dressed in a riding habit, Clive's son Edward who still plays with dolls (played by a woman), and the family's impeccable but dangerous black servant, Joshua, who knows exactly what is really going on. What really is going on is a marvellous send up and a non-stop round robin of sexual liaisons. Betty loves Harry. Clive is carrying on with the widowed Mrs. Saunders. The governess, Ellen, is desperately in love with Betty. Harry is having affairs with Joshua, and with Edward, Betty and Edward. Betty's mother Maud views the goings-on with a jaundiced eye and a distinctly loose upper lip. The second act shifts to London in 1980 except for the surviving characters it is only twenty five years later and all those repressed sexual longings have evaporated along with the Empire. Cloud 9 is about relationships – between women and men, men and men, women and women. It is about sex, work, mothers, Africa, power, children, grandmothers, politics, money, Queen Victoria and Sex.

Cloud 9 created a sensation with its world premiere at the Dartington College of Arts near Devon before transferring to London at the Royal Court Theatre in 1979. In 1981 it was revived at Off-Broadway's Theatre de Lys, later renamed the Lucille Lortel Theatre, for a two-year run in New York City. It has since been staged all over the world. The play is regularly performed in regional and college theatre productions.

Cast: 3 female, 4 male (with doubling)

What people say:

"Miss Churchill has a highly original imagination, and if what she's got to say is familiar it's funnier and fresher than the last time we heard it said ... [Cloud 9] is succinctly sassy, elegantly insulting, written with a quill pen that seems to have been deftly dipped in ice water." — The New York Times

"I really don't know when I've had more fun. It blends farce, pathos into a work of total theatre." — New York Daily News

"Sharp comedy and a serious purpose are splendidly combined... It unlocks the imagination, liberates the mind, and leaves you weak with laughter." — Time Out (London)

"Audacious and savagely funny. Mesmerizing." — Washington Post

"The play that established Caryl Churchill as the most imaginatively daring of our major dramatists; and, nearly 30 years after its premiere, it still seems not only remarkably inventive but as sharp about the contradictions of gender as anything that has been written since." — The Times (London)

"An examination of postcolonialism and gender issues doesn't sound like the kindling for a hot night on the town. But Brit playwright Caryl Churchill knows what she's doing when she uses these subjects as the launching pads for her absurd sense of humour and critical commentary. Her play Cloud 9a two act drama in which time and identity are not the rigid constructions we know them to be – is arguably the pinnacle of the playwright's career." — Eye Weekly (Toronto)

About the Playwright:

Caryl Churchill is widely recognized as one of the UK's leading playwrights. She was born in London and after the Second World War her family emigrated to Montreal in Canada. She returned to England to attend Oxford University and graduated with a degree in English Literature. One of the most respected dramatists in the English-speaking world, she is an internationally known playwright whose work has been given major international theatrical awards throughout the world.

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