Armidale Playhouse - April/May 1990
Produced by Michael Beckwith
By Caryl Churchill
Victorian Colonial Africa
Caryl Churchull wrote Cloud Nine in 1979 following a workshopping period with a group of actors from the Joint Stock Theatre Company. The workshop explored features of modern sexual politics as seen by the individual members of the company which were then assembled to produce the text of the play.
The first act is set in colonial Africa. The Victorian setting assumed significance in their discussions as a result of their conviction that late nineteenth century sexual mores continue to influence contemporary attitudes and values. The colonial aspect of Victorian life provided the group with a convenient motif in which to portray the dilemma faced by a patriarchal orientation to modern times when the outline of sex typical behaviour is less clearly defined.
The second act is set in contemporary London and those characters reappearing from the first act are made more lifelike as they begin to realise an identity stripped of effectual social position.
While Cloud Nine is considered one of Churchill's more optimistic plays the orbital order of characters appearing in the first act contrasts sharply with their destabilised interactions in the second.
Ellen/Mrs Saunders/Lin: Ruth Carruthers
Clive/Cath: Mark Higginbotham
Joshua/Dead Soldier: Harry Koponen
Edward/Betty: Fiona Mahl
Maud/Victoria: Liz Phillips
Gerry: Nick Purtle
Harry/Martin: David Sandbrook
Betty/Edward: Michael Sparke
Director: Gabrielle Hodson
Producer: Michael Beckwith
Stage Manager: Randall Middleton
Assistant Stage Manager: Claire Blakney
Set Design: lmogen Ross
Lighting: Matt Downing, Leasa Murphy
Costumes: Andrew Drummond
Publicity: Pat Lightfoot
Director's Assistant: Liz Deans
Construction: Immy, Andy, Randy, Jon, Liz and Mick
Andrew Roe, Emo, Jonathan Smith, Burt Russell, Mandy Armstrong, Burton's Saddlery, Tom Hudson,
UNE Union Cultural Services, Launt Thompson, Armidale Outdoors, Matt Stevenson,
UNE Drama Department, Douglas Colman