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Cloud 9 Paperback – December 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group; 1st TCG ed edition (December 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559360992
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559360999
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reading the script for Caryl Churchill's 1979 play about sex and love is a special workout for the imagination. First, she asks you to imagine characters whose sexual identities and alliances shift constantly. Then she asks you to imagine that most of the characters make an impossible leap in time, from colonial Africa in the Victorian age to contemporary Britain. Lastly, she asks you to imagine some of the male characters played by women and some female characters played by men. Churchill likes to get things good and mixed up so all the audience's preconceptions about gender, romance, and "lifestyle" are scrambled, neutralized, and possibly even rebuilt. The title refers to the state of orgasmic and emotional bliss that everyone in this play seems to be striving for so desperately.

Review

...the play offered an interesting commentary on prescribed notions of gender and sexuality....
Brown Daily Herald

...Miss Churchill has found a theatrical method that is easily as dizzying as her theme. Not only does she examine a cornucopia of sexual permutations--from heterosexual adultery right up to bisexual incest-- but she does so with a wild array of dramatic styles and tricks....Miss Churchill, as you might gather is one deft writer.
–Frank Rich, The New York Times

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 humor and critical commentary. Her 1982 play Cloud Nine--a 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

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 Nine] is succinctly sassy, elegantly insulting, written with a quill pen that seems to have been deftly dipped in ice water.
–Walter Kerr, The New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rob Derida on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
This play is an interesting approach to the question of morality in the 'modern' age. It contrasts two worlds, one of moral certainty in a Victorian colonial home, and one of complete amorality and uncertainty in contemporary Britain. It does however go beyond these issues to deal with other important issues like Gender roles and the general issue of both mental and physical 'colonization' of people by society. This play should be read by anyone even remotely interested in these themes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Little Old Me on January 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Caryl Churchill's dark comedic play, "Cloud Nine" is a masterpiece. Though written in 1978, its commentary on gender roles and sexuality is quite compelling to our youngest generations. With the current controversey over homosexual relationships/marriage, Cloud Nine serves as window into the frustrations and fears of gay characters. People who have a hard time identifying with alternative lifestyles would have a lot to learn from reading through this play. In a way, Churchill's play is a bridge builder between the heterosexual world and the gay minority.
Cloud Nine follows the story of a family. The first act takes place on a South African plantation during the English Victorian Era, while in the second act, though the characters have only aged 20 years, the action takes place in London, England in the 1970's. Clive, the family patron, is the center of a male-oriented soceity and incourages traditional family and gender roles. For the first act, his wife Betty is played by a man, his gay son Edward is played by a woman, and his black servant is played by a white man. Immediately we learn that only Clive is satisfied with his station in life, where the other characters suffer many indignities to themselves that go unnoticed by everyone else (i.e. Edward is being molested by a friend of his father, who eventually attempts to seduce Clive as well). By the second act, time has moved forward and we watch the characters trying to adapt to an ever changing world in which parts of them is too withdrawn.
Chruchill's play is clever and intense with emotion. To connect with one character is to really experience the mental frustration and the indignities that we suffer from a judgemental society. I praise Caryl Churchill for this commentary in hopes that readers will gain a sense of sympathy for such people and in turn will promote tolerance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading Caryl Churchill's infamous play "Cloud Nine". I found the book to be an amazing tool to present to the reader those social issues which we have so desperately tried to sweep under the bed. The book is actually a play through which her use of a Brechtian style of theater keeps the reader in a sort of shocked confusion and not very comfortable. At first glance you might say it is vulgar and rude, yet a deeper evaluation proves that this play is an effective tool to dredge up what society has sunk to the bottom of the river.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Keith Fowler on March 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Cloud Nine is an amazing play, a break-through drama in its time. Churchill plays fast and loose with the decades in her deconstruction of the glacial change of gender typing from Victorian times until the late '70's. She blends cartooned and naturalistic characterization to demonstrate the impact of character types on our deepest ideas of self. This play is funny, revelatory, and terribly moving.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This a play that was written to make people feel uncomfortable, and conote one's feelings on issues of sexual orientation. The play was writen to follow Brechtian style of theater. That is, it was written not to entertain, but to force an audience to focus on a political and sociol conflict. The first half of the play was very well done. It rolls, and is moderatly entertaining. But, then it hits the second act, when everything comes to a grinding halt. One must force themselves to read the on to finish. This is the effect of the Brechtian theater.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Caryl Churchill's play makes a powerful and courageous statement. She discusses issues of feminism, colonialism, and sex. Set in the Brechtian theater, Churchill is able to tell it like it is. The play does not necessarily condone or diapprove these issues, but puts them out there to be discussed. She infers in her work that ignoring these issues is like approving of these acts by letting them continue to occur. Her characters are sometimes homosexual, or else they are obssessed with premiscuous sex. Her play may be shocking to the reader, but once you are over the initial shock, you begin to realize what she is saying. Churchill forces the reader to think about these issues and how society deals with them. This play is important to our culture and you should pick it up sometime.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brad on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
As far as Brechtian plays go, Churchill is a master at alienation and disidentification- characters in this play are played as the protagonist's projection of who he thinks they should be (ie: the westernized African servant is played by a white actor). Although the effect is extremely powerful onstage, particularly when it raises up complex social and ethnic issues, the different characters can be hard to keep straight on paper. This play works far better in performance than it does in print, but it remains a valuable teaching tool for both Brecht and World Theatre studies.
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