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School of Theatre and Dance Kick Off Season with CLOUD 9, a Gender-Bending Comedy

Posted Sep. 2, 2010

Kent State University's School of Theatre and Dance kicks off its 2010/11 season with Caryl Churchill's gender-bending comedy about sexual identity, Cloud 9. Runs from Oct. 8-17 in Wright-Curtis Theatre in the Music and Speech Building at 1325 Theatre Drive. Tickets can be purchased by calling 330-672-2497 or online at Please note,this production does contain nudity and adult themes and is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.

Cloud 9Churchill's play, first produced in London in 1979, is a landmark in its exploration of sex, race and the changing face of the family. Act 1, set in 1880 Africa, is a spoof of colonialist attitudes and Victorian hang-ups. The second act, set in 1980 England, is a more serious take on the fallout of the sexual revolution. Both feature the same family members who, in a bit of theatrical magic, have  aged only 25 years between acts. That's not the only trick Churchill plays. She also requires the actors to swap sex and race.

"It is a play about identity and the roles we are given in life - i.e. sexless mother, all-providing father, dutiful child, and faithful servant," said Eric van Baars, director and associate professor of theatre. "Sexual repression is also a big theme. I have plans to play with the visualization of sexual repression on the architecture of the characters."

Playwright Caryl Churchill, born in London on Sept. 3, 1938, is an English dramatist known for her use of non-naturalistic techniques and feminist themes. She is acknowledged as a major playwright in the English language and a leading woman writer. Her early work developed Brecht's modernist dramatic and theatrical techniques of 'Epic Theatre' to explore issues around gender and sexuality. From A Mouthful of Birds (1986) onwards, she began to experiment with forms of dance-theatre, incorporating techniques developed from the performance tradition initiated by Artaud with his 'Theatre of Cruelty.' This move away from a clear Fabel dramaturgy towards increasingly fragmented and surrealistic narratives characterizes her work as postmodernist.

Shows run Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The box office is open weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain. For tickets or more information, call 330-672-2497. The box office accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, checks and cash. Tickets are $8 students, $12 Faculty, Staff, Seniors and Alumni Association members, and $16 Adults. Groups of 10 or more are $7 per person.

FOR KSU STUDENTS: On Tuesday, Oct. 12 students can receive 1,500 FLASHperks by attending this performance.

The School of Theatre and Dance 2010/2011 season includes Brigadoon (Nov. 5-15), Dance 2010:TranscenDANCE (Dec. 3-5), Grease (Feb. 18-27), BFA Senior Dance Concert and Student Dance Festival (March 11-13), Kent Dance Ensemble (April 1-3), Student Theatre Festival (April 8-10), and Hamlet (April 15-23).

For More Information Contact:
Effie A. Tsengas, 330-672-8398


Attn Photo Editors: Images from the production are available by contacting Effie Tsengas, or contact Effie about arranging a photo op on Thurs., Oct. 7.