Cloud Nine

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Cloud Nine

By Caryl Churchill

Directed by Gavin Hawk

Jul. 14 – Aug. 6, 2017

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $28

Preview Performances: Jul. 12 – 13 | Wed. – Thr. 8pm | Tickets: $14

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets Season Season Tickets

Winner!

  • Creative Loafing Top 10 Plays of the Decade
  • Weekly Planet Best of the Bay – Best Play
  • Weekly Planet Best of the Bay – Best Director – Ami Sallee
  • Weekly Planet Best of the Bay – Best Set Designer – Dickie Corley
  • Weekly Planet 2003 Top Ten Production
  • Tampa Tribune Best of 2003

Witnessing this brilliant comedy is a sure-fire mental workout. Think of it as a zany Brit-com meets a Womens Studies doctoral dissertation. Caryl Churchill sets in motion characters whose sexual identities and alliances shift constantly. She asks audiences to accept that most of the characters make an impossible leap in time, from colonial Africa in the Victorian age to contemporary Britain. She then asks audiences to ignore the fact that certain men are played by women, certain women are played by men, children can be played by adults and that even black can be white.

(L-R) Jason Evans, Summer Bohnenkamp, Shawn Paonessa and David M. Jenkins in Jobsite's Cloud Nine.Churchill likes to mix things up so all preconceptions about gender, romance and “lifestyle” are scrambled, neutralized and perhaps point at possibilities on how to rebuild them by the end of the show. Cloud Nine mocks colonial and sexual repressions in a farce that employs racial and gender cross-casting to make its points.

Caryl Churchill has become well known for her use of dramatic structure, often overshadowing the context of her works. She is a playwright of ideas with her primary concern being the individual’s struggle to emerge from the ensnarements of culture, class, economic systems and the imperatives of the past. Not surprisingly for a contemporary female writer, she primarily employs female characters to deal with such themes. In Cloud Nine, a parallel is suggested between Western colonial oppression and Western sexual oppression. This oppression is seen first in the family structure, then in the power of the past to influence the present.

No one in Cloud Nine can successfully escape from the ghosts of established practices and traditions. Act I presents an English family living in Victorian colonial Africa. Clive, the father, is not only father to his children, but to the natives as well. To underscore this male-influenced world, Churchill uses a male actor to portray Clive’s wife Betty, since the women aspire to be like the men. Reinforcing this theme, she uses a white actor to play the part of the Joshua, their black servant. Victoria, Clive’s daughter, is represented by a doll in the first act. Clives son, Edward, is played by a woman. Despite the race and gender of the performers, the characters become whatever the white father wishes them to be.

In Act II the colonial family has returned to England without their father and all the actors in the show switch characters. The now grown-up children seek to realize their separate identities, but freedom to be complete individuals still eludes them.

Churchill, who was once 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 theater as an open frontier where lives can be burst apart and explored, rather than a cage that flattens out experience and diminishes it.”

Warning

This show contains adult language, situations and subject matter and is intended for mature audiences. Its dirty!

Production History

Shortly after being offered residency at the Straz Center, Jobsite produced a relatively low-budget, low-profile version of Caryl Churchill’s wildly entertaining little play ion June 2003. They would have no idea that it would go on to pack the house night after night while going on to win three Best of the Bay Awards and be named a top 10 production of the year by both The Tampa Tribune and Creative Loafing. By some folks’ estimation the show was a defining moment, cementing that the company had finally arrived and proved their worth to the region.

“This is a zany play, but one with terrific wit and humanity to it … It is a play that has something to say to us today about kindness, affection, perversion and, most of all, love.” – Clive Barnes, New York Post.

“Churchill sees the theater as an open frontier where lives can be burst apart and explored, rather than a cage that flattens out experience and diminishes it.” – New York Times

Show Times

Wed., Jul. 12, 2017
  • Cloud Nine - Preview
    8:00 PMShimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Thu., Jul. 13, 2017
  • Cloud Nine - Preview
    8:00 PMShimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Fri., Jul. 14, 2017
  • Cloud Nine – Opening Night
    8:00 PMShimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Sat., Jul. 15, 2017
  • Cloud Nine
    8:00 PMShimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Sun., Jul. 16, 2017
  • Cloud Nine
    4:00 PMShimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Discounts and Deals

A season ticket to all six shows in the 2016–17 season is on sale now. Save 20% off the price of individual tickets with fees folded in: $142.30 – less than $24 per person per person per show.


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Want season tickets, plus access to all Jobsite events, including the Gala, AND get special access to all sorts of goodies? Be a Rock Star! It’s even tax-deductible!

Media

David M. Jenkins and Summer Bohnenkamp in Jobsite's Cloud Nine.(L-R) David M. Jenkins and Shawn Paonessa in Jobsite's Cloud Nine.The Ensemble of Jobsite's Cloud Nine.

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Related Posts

  • Ami Sallee – Director

Cast

  • Summer Bohnenkamp – Ellen/Betty
  • Jason Evans – Harry/Martin
  • David M. Jenkins – Clive/Cathy
  • Michael C. McGreevy – Joshua/Edward
  • Shawn Paonessa – Betty/Gerry
  • Brandy Pedersen – Edward/Victoria
  • Katrina Stevenson – Maud/Lin
  • John Hagner – Stage Manager

Crew

  • Dickie Corley – Set Designer
  • Brian M. Smallheer – Light Designer
  • Kevin Spooner – Composer

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