Cloud 9 Background

Cloud 9 Background

Cloud 9 is a two-act play written in 1979 by Caryl Churchill, who is widely accepted as one of England's foremost modern playwrights. It is a controversial play that deals with sexual politics and has some female characters played by men to reflect the belief of the female characters that only men have value in the eyes of society. This is true of colonial Africa, setting for act one, where one of the principle characters, Clive, treats his wife and the natives with the same type of draconian authority. The play compares colonial and sexual oppression and finds them to be remarkably similar; even in act two, which is set in 1979, Clive struggles to adjust to feminism because he is used to being in complete control.

Like many of Churchill's plays, Cloud 9 was written for the Joint Stock Theater Group,whose method of producing a play entailed bringing together the writer, producer and company actors for a workshop where they research and discuss their experiences of sexual politics, stereotypes and gender reversal. Although the characters and situations were not written in these sessions, Caryl Churchill credits them with hugely influencing the characters and thrir development.

Cloud 9 opened at the Royal Court Theater, London, in 1979, running for two years before opening in New York in 1981.

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