Cloud 9 Essay

Cloud 9 Essay

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Did Caryl Churchill succeed in breaking patriarchal stereotypes of gender and sexuality the way she intended in her play Cloud 9 with the cross-casting method or did it merely create a comic element in the play? If she did succeed how does her examination of sexism apply to the twenty-first century compared to its original production in 1979? Cloud 9 was written in the heart of the women’s liberation movement which is also known as the second wave of feminism. During this period, feminists fought for issues like workplace rights, legal inequalities between the sexes and more importantly reproductive rights and sexual freedom. These types of issues play right into the content of Cloud 9, and this connection to the women’s liberation movement may be why Cloud 9 is often considered a political play discussing gender and sexuality, but it also considers colonialism and racism The former issues are secondary, and are seen more in act one of this two act play. The issues of sexism are more dominant because Cloud 9 was an assignment from the Joint Stock Theatre Group as a piece on sexual politics (Cousin 38).
Cloud 9 is an unconventional play of two acts; the first act is set in Victorian Africa, the height of colonial settlement, while act two is set near a century later in what would have been modern day England. This jump in time is a theatrical tool used by Churchill to keep the audience aware that it is a political statement, this is what is called the “estrangement effect” known now as a Brechtian technique (Cloud cover 264) This play also uses gender-bending and cross-casting to bring awareness to the audience the patriarchal and colonial expectations of western cultures. In the forward to the play Churchill explains the import...


... middle of paper ...


...heatre practitioners ever truly, openly display homosexual relationships on stage without repercussion? Only time will tell.










Works Cited
Adams. Mary Louise. The Trouble with Normal: Postwar Youth and the Making of Heterosexuality. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
Churchill, Caryl. Cloud 9. London: Nick Hern Books, 2010.
Cousin, Geraldine. Churchill the Playwright. London: Methuen Drama, 1989.
Diamond, Elin. “Refusing the Romanticism of Identity: Narrative Interventions in Churchill, Benmussa, Duras” Theatre Journal 37. 3. (Oct., 1985): 273-286.
Harding, James M. “Cloud Cover: (Re) Dressing Desire and Comfortable Subversions in Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine” Modern Language Association 113. 2. (Mar., 1998): 258-272.
Wilson, Edwin and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: A History. 5th ed. Boston and Burr Ridge, IL: McGraw Hill, 2004.

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