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Cloud 9 on Tour

British playwright Caryl Churchill's two-act play ‘Cloud 9' is just as provocative and relevant now as when it first premiered in 1979. London-born Churchill has spent much of her life ensconced in the dramatics of the theater, but her plays are very much rooted in brutal realities. ‘Cloud 9' is one of her most beloved and hard-hitting works, even in its farcical aspect. Churchill dissects patriarchal values and sexual and gender politics as the story unfolds in both Victorian-era British colonial Africa and 1970s London. As you watch the production through a 21st-century lens, you'll still find it strikingly timely. 

Since its opening at England's Dartington College of Arts in 1979, ‘Cloud 9' has shocked theatergoers throughout Britain and across the pond. In 1982, it won an Obie Award (Off-Broadway Theater Award) for best play of the year in New York. It went on to become a popular choice at independent theaters and universities throughout the U.S., and continues to challenge not only its audiences but the actors themselves. 

Act I is set in a British colony in Africa, but all is not as it seems. Churchill completely dismantles gender and racial stereotypes from the get-go, as characters become entangled in illicit affairs and taboo relationships. By Act II, the setting jumps up a century, to 1979 London, where characters from the previous act reemerge (but only 25 years older) to continue to explore their sexuality within a looser, more chaotic environment. Throughout, ‘Cloud 9' subverts long-held ideas of sex, gender, race, power, and identity, and somehow makes it all funny, fascinating, and wildly thought-provoking. This is not a play for the prude or the proud — be prepared to question your long-held beliefs, no matter your own place in society.