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Theater: Cloud 9 Forum

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Welcome to the second online discussion of theater productions at the Wilma in Philadelphia, PA, hosted on Serendip. Cloud 9 is one of Caryl Churchill's best known works in this country, as she tackles the hardest questions of modern life with fierce intelligence and off-kilter optimism that has made her one of the most eloquent, funny, and consistently provocative voices in theater today. Like many of the Wilma's productions, it is a play loaded with social, political, and cultural relevance that should provoke interesting discussions. Please join in!

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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questions of interest to us
Name: Walter Bil
Date: 2006-04-20 14:58:39
Link to this Comment: 19106

I'm the dramaturg at the Wilma Theater, and have been closely involved in the selection of Cloud 9, in researching the play, and in watching the development of the Wilma production. I'd like to start off this discussion by suggesting several questions that kept our interest during the pre-rehearsal and rehearsal period:

Cloud 9 grew out of a workshop in the late 1970s on sexual politics. Most of the actors in the workshop agreed that they felt they had grown up in a fairly "Victorian" atmosphere in terms of their sexual attitudes, which helped inspire Caryl Churchill to set the two acts one hundred years apart, but with characters who have only aged 25 years. The second act represents an era when women were just beginning to move into the professional world and parenting responsibilities were starting to evolve, and when it was first becoming possible for gays and lesbians to live openly in society, but before the advent of the AIDS epidemic. Churchill describes the characters as all changing "a little," and they seem to be fumbling toward a more egalitarian, accepting community. How far have we come in the past several decades since the play was written, in terms of male/female power relationships, rights for gays and lesbians, and an egalitarian society?

How does Churchill's theatricality -- the use of cross-gendered (and cross-racial) performance, songs, and other devices -- affect your response to the questions and issues she raises in the play?

If Churchill were writing a Cloud 9 today, what would change? What new issues or possibilities might she deal with?

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