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CLOUD NINE (article first published : 2007-03-11)

The second production of the year for the ever-busy DUT Drama Department in Durban, is the unusual and quirky comedy, Cloud Nine by contemporary British writer Caryl Churchill, to be directed by Alyn Auld.

Cloud Nine comes hot on the heels of Alan Ayckbourn Confusions which has meant that the drama students at Durban University of Technology have staged two major productions, both comedies, in one month - literally within weeks of opening for the new academic year which is an astonishing feat!

Cloud Nine is one of English writer Caryl Churchillís earlier plays written in 1979 Ė not long after Vinegar Tom (another popular piece much favoured by drama departments). It was the first production to garner her critical and public acclaim. She is a leading woman poster-modern writer, and her work is known for her use of non-realistic techniques and feminist themes.

Churchill was born in London, England. During World War II she served as resident dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre from 1974 to 1975, and later began collaboration with theatre companies such as Joint Stock Theatre Company and Monstrous Regiment (a feminist theatre union). Churchill has also written television plays for the BBC. These, as well as some of her radio plays, have been adapted for the stage.

Director Alyn Auld has inverted many of the original contexts and situations to make it more accessible to a contemporary audience. He has retained Churchillís trademark trend to cast adults as children and to cast across gender (men play women, and women play men) achieving hilarious results. As always, this play probe sensitive areas of sexual politics; class, social and racial identity, and colonial and gender oppression.

Cloud Nine will be staged at the Courtyard Theatre at DUT in Mansfield Road from March 21 to 24 at 19h00. Tickets R30 available at the door (discounts for students and senior citizens). Enquiries to the Drama Studies Dept on 031 204 2194.




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