Playbill and Publicity Photos by Michael J. Walline.
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Kelli Bocock Natale
STARRING Richard Lambert, Chris Kelly, Diane Curley,
Kelly Ferguson Moore, Pamela Rose Mangus,
Eric Rawski and Steve Copps
THREE AND A HALF STARS
THE BUFFALO NEWS
"Director Kelli Bocock-Natale, who always sees more,
feels more, hears more, about plays she assembles,
has worked yet another miracle at The Phoenix"
- Ted Hadley
CLOUD 9 – Caryl Churchill’s groundbreaking, gender-bending comedy of political and sexual oppression, came to the New Phoenix Theatre on November 29.
CLOUD 9 is a witty, even farcical observation of society’s disposition towards sex, marriage and family, and is an unashamedly theatrical exploration of sexuality, gender roles, race and the politics of each. The play opens in British colonial Africa and then shifts to London in 1979, where the same characters - now played by different actors - behave as though only 25 years have passed; Churchill extends to the director a range of possibilities for swapping actors and roles in the two acts but insists on mixing gender and race (males playing women, whites play blacks etc.) to deepen the parody of role playing, identity politics, and sexual relationships. Written in the 1980s, when Churchill was experimenting with improvisation for workshops with the Joint Stock Company, and while Margaret Thatcher was pursuing an aggressive reform of British economic and foreign policy, the play draws on an impressive range of influences – Shakespeare, Genet, Brecht – to juxtapose its questions about identity, gender, and our roles while also succeeding as very funny entertainment.
Award-winning director Kelli Bocock-Natale returned to New Phoenix with CLOUD 9 after starring in last season’s COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA (Lola) and directing the hit PETER PAN. CLOUD 9 featured Richard Lambert, Chris Kelly, Diane Curley, Kelly Ferguson Moore, Pamela Rose Mangus, Eric Rawski and Steve Copps.