CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Caryl Churchill's wild, gender-bending farce 'Cloud 9' opens University
Theatres season at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University Theatres 1998-99 Mainstage season will
open with British playwright Caryl Churchill's wild, gender-bending farce
"Cloud 9" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 in E.C. Mabie Theatre of
the University of Iowa Theatre Building. The production will be staged
in conjunction with "Global Focus: Human Rights '98," the UI's
campus-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights.
Additional performances of "Cloud 9," directed by UI department
of theatre arts faculty member Carol MacVey, will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 16,
17 and 21-24, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18 and 25.
In "Cloud 9," now recognized as one of the landmark plays
of the 1970s, Churchill tackles issues of gender, class, family and race
with daring comedy and theatrical flair. The story begins in the colonial
Africa of the late 19th century, when the British mania for propriety was
at its height, but when the Act II curtain rises on late 20th-century England,
the empire and all its purported certainties have evaporated. The actors
have switched roles and genders, and both values and identities have been
Mel Gussow of the New York Times described "Cloud 9" as "Kipling
as rewritten by Joe Orton." Victorian sexual repression, colonialism
and the perils of negotiating modern life all take a bashing.
Act I takes place in "darkest Africa," but in this fun-house-mirror
vision of British colonialism men portray women, women portray men, the
servant is white and the family daughter is a rag doll. Act II may jump
ahead 100 years, but each of the characters has aged only 25 years for
the age of sexual liberation, which proves to present challenges and pitfalls
of its own.
"This is a zany play, but one with terrific wit and humanity to
it," Clive Barnes wrote in the New York Post. "It is a play that
has something to say to us today about kindness, affection, perversion
and, most of all, love."
Churchill, who was once quaintly described by the Minneapolis Star and
Tribune as "England's foremost female playwright," has always
taken a playful attitude toward the conventions of both theater and society.
As Frank Rich observed in the New York Times, "Churchill sees the
theatre as an open frontier where lives can be burst apart and explored,
rather than a cage that flattens out experience and diminishes it."
In Britain she has won numerous awards, including the Olivier Award
for Best Play, and she is a multiple Obie winner for the New York productions
of her plays.
Artistic contributors to the University Theatres production of "Cloud
9" include set designer Alan S. Morti, costume designer Kaiome Malloy,
lighting designer Michael O'Connell, sound designer Becca Sissel, music
composers Gary Monheit and Alan MacVey, choreographer Mauria Brough and
dramaturg Kristen Gandrow.
Tickets for "Cloud 9" are $15 ($7 for UI students, senior
citizens and youth). Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher
Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets for each performance will
be available at the Theatre Building box office one hour before curtain
"Cloud 9" tickets are also available at a substantial discount
as part of University Theatres three-play or five-play season subscription
packages. A free season brochure is available from the Hancher box office,
or from the Department of Theatre Arts, (319) 335-2700.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged
to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases
to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option
of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with
hearing impairment who use that technology.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr/
on the World Wide Web.
"Cloud 9" includes material of an adult nature. Potential
audience members who are concerned about whether it is appropriate for
them should contact the department of theatre arts for additional information,
Global Focus: Human Rights '98 is a cross-disciplinary program of teaching,
research and action of the UI and its surrounding communities, designed
to address the problems and prospects of human rights as the 21st century
approaches. The program will feature distinguished speakers, scholarly
lectures, panel discussions, published research, curricular innovations,
community forums, radio broadcasts, artistic displays, theatrical events,
films and musical offerings. Global Focus include a visit by Nobel laureate
Elie Wiesel. For more information, visit the Global Focus website at <http://www.uiowa.edu/~hr98/>.