Cloud 9

by  Caryl Churchill

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 3f

"Intelligent, inventive and funny." - The New York Times

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

This time-shifting comedy by the author of Top Girls created a sensation with its Off Broadway premiere, directed by Tommy Tune. Both parody and spoof of the Victorian Empire and its rigid attitudes, especially toward sex. There is Clive, a British functionary; his wife Betty (played by a man); their daughter Victoria (a rag doll); Clive’s friend Harry, an explorer; Mrs. Saunders, who runs about dressed in a riding habit; Clive’s son Edward, who still plays with dolls and is played by a woman; and Joshua, a native servant who knows exactly what is really going on. What really is going on is a marvelous send-up and a non-stop round-robin of sexual liaisons. All this time the natives are restless in the background. 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.

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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Intelligent, inventive and funny." - 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

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance
  • Optional Music/Media Fee: $25 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1980s, Victorian (British and American)
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Africa, 1880, and London, 1980.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

4m, 3f
Act 1
CLIVE - a colonial administrator
BETTY - his wife, played by a man
JOSHUA - his black servant, played by a white
EDWARD - his son, played by a woman
VICTORIA - his daughter, a dummy
MAUD - his mother-in-law
ELLEN - Edward's governess
HARRY BAGLEY - an explorer
MRS. SAUNDERS - a widow (played by the same actress who plays Ellen)
Act 2
BETTY - now played by a woman (normally the same actress who plays Edward)
EDWARD - her son, now played by a man (normally the same actor who plays Betty)
VICTORIA - her daughter (normally played by the same actress who plays Maud)
MARTIN - Victoria's husband (normally played by the same actor who plays Harry)
LIN - a lesbian single mother (normally played by the same actress who plays Ellen/Mrs. Saunders)
CATHY - Lin's daughter, age 5, played by a man (normally the same actor who plays Clive)
GERRY - Edward's lover (normally played by the same actor who plays Joshua)
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

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Authors

Caryl Churchill

Caryl Churchill was born on 3 September 1938 in London and grew up in the Lake District and in Montreal. She was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Downstairs, her first play written while she was still at university, was first staged in 1958 and won an award at the Sunday Times National Union of Students Drama Fe ...

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Cloud 9 premiered at the Dartington College of Arts in Totnes, England, on February 14, 1979.

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