The Play

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 799

Cloud Nine opens with a Victorian family in Africa singing an anthem to the British Union Jack. Between stanzas, Clive introduces his perfect family of dutiful wife, son, daughter, mother-in-law, governess, and black servant.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Cloud Nine Study Guide

Subscribe Now

In act 1, scene 1, Clive returns from a foray into the bush to investigate threatening drumbeats and tells Betty that Harry Bagley is coming to visit. As Maud reminds Betty of her duty to her husband, he brings in another caller, the widow Saunders. Next, Harry arrives and at first resists Betty’s overtures as those of a dangerous woman; when he begins to take her in his arms, however, she runs off. He then departs for a sexual interlude with Joshua in the barn.

In scene 2, Clive dallies with Mrs. Saunders before the family Christmas picnic and then toasts Queen Victoria and all of her dear children. During their games, Harry comments that the empire is one big happy family. Edward, meanwhile, attempts to renew their sexual relationship. When Harry resists Betty’s renewed overtures, Ellen reveals to the audience her physical attraction for Betty. Harry then conjures a string of British flags from up his sleeve as Joshua sings an English Christmas carol.

In scene 3, Clive has the stable boys flogged because they are related to the rebellious Africans. As Edward is coached in proper male behavior, Clive voices clichés about family loyalty to justify his distance from Betty for her overtures to Harry. Edward supports his mother by demanding that Joshua do her bidding, and Joshua finally obeys.

In scene 4, Clive reports that he burned a village the previous evening. Edward declares his attraction to Harry, Ellen hers to Betty; as Clive speaks of the dark side of women, Harry makes an overture to him. To save Harry from depravity, Clive insists that he must marry. Mrs. Saunders comes out, turns down Harry’s proposal and reveals that Clive has killed Joshua’s parents. When Joshua reports on Ellen’s indiscreet talk with Betty, Clive orders him out of his sight.

In scene 5, Harry and Ellen are married. Betty recovers her necklace that Edward earlier had tried to give to Harry. As Clive toasts peace, joy, and bliss for Harry and Ellen, Joshua raises his gun to shoot Clive.

Act 2 is set one hundred years later, but only twenty-five years later in the lives of the characters. As scene 1 opens, Cathy, the small child of lesbian Lin (played by an adult man), sings bawdy versions of nursery rhymes. Victoria reads while Lin tries to interest her in a lesbian affair. Betty arrives and announces that she is leaving Clive. Cathy plays with guns and smears black over her painting, which Edward acquires for his lover Gerry. Lin asks Victoria to be her lover.

In scene 2, Edward gardens as he and Gerry fight about Gerry’s infidelity. Betty, Martin, and Victoria watch the latters’ son, Tommy, feed the ducks. Martin encourages Victoria to move in with Lin while criticizing her for being so liberated that she cries all the time. Although Cathy plays with guns, she loves pretty dresses and wants Lin to dress in velvet like other mothers.

Betty tells Lin that she prefers male company and that she is lonely for a man. Lin makes a series of plays for Victoria’s loyalty, ending with her grief that her brother has been killed in war in Belfast. Victoria dashes off to find Tommy; Cathy pleads with Lin for permission to stay up late. Gerry returns to tell Edward that he acts too much like a wife. The scene ends with Edward admiring Victoria’s body and thinking that he is a lesbian.

In scene 3, Lin, Edward, and Victoria sit in the park trying to conjure up the goddess of orgy. They first attract Martin, who says that in the 1960’s liberation simply meant sex. Next, Lin’s dead brother complains of how the military deprives one of sex. Next, the Edward of act 1 embraces Gerry with love. All sing of life upside down when one reaches Cloud Nine.

As scene 4 opens, Cathy sings of a boy and a girl happily married having a boy and a girl. Betty enters, counting money earned as a doctor’s receptionist, as she tells Martin to bring Victoria home when she has herself properly sorted out, for Edward and Lin will find her a nuisance. Edward meets Gerry and tells him that he likes living with women and children. Cathy dashes in crying to ask Lin to defend her against the boys who hit her in the face and took her money. Gerry tells Betty that he and Edward are gay. Although Clive assures Betty that she is not that kind of woman, the Betty of act 1 comes and embraces Betty as the curtain falls.

Dramatic Devices

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 354

Cloud Nine directs the playgoer’s attention to the parallels between colonial and sexual oppression through a variety of dramatic devices. In the first act, for example, Betty is played by a man because she wants to be what men want her to be. Joshua, the black servant, is played by a white man because he wants to be what whites want him to be. Clive’s son, Edward, is played by a woman to highlight Clive’s attempt to impose traditional male values on him.

By act 2, one hundred years have passed, although the characters are only twenty-five years older. Martin dominates Victoria despite his voiced sympathy for feminism. The bitter end of colonialism continues as Lin’s brother dies in Northern Ireland. Betty is played by a woman as she gradually becomes real to herself. Cathy is played by a man to show clearly the issues involved in learning what is correct behavior for a girl.

Songs highlight the dialogue. For example, the Christmas celebration with the singing of “The First Noel” provides a humorous sound effect as Clive is teasing Mrs. Saunders. It also highlights, however, the colonial attitude—of fighting for Christmas, England, games, and women singing—of which Harry speaks. Joshua’s later singing of an English carol shows that colonization is deadly; it deprives him of any local culture.

Four-year-old Cathy (played by a man) sings, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick. Silly Jack he should jump higher, Goodness gracious, great balls of fire,” and other such rhymes. These songs create audience awareness of how culture even prescribes the language that is appropriate for men and women. For one dressed in a frilly pink dress to utter such words is humorous commentary on contemporary adults who claim to be liberated while responding according to Victorian sex-role stereotypes. To have Edward say that catching the ball is a male game and to laugh at the way women catch, or to have a little girl’s tears wiped away by the promise of an ice cream, mirrors myths that rule the lives of the audience.

Form and Content

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 648

The central focus of Cloud Nine is sexual politics, an admittedly general topic that Caryl Churchill suggested to a Joint Stock Theater Group workshop, which became the inspiration for her play. The work is divided into two very different acts. The first is set in Africa in Victorian times, with the patriarch Clive trying to maintain control of his section of the British Empire and of his family, the members of which demonstrate difficulty staying within the boundaries of accepted gender roles. Clive introduces them: himself as father to both the African natives and his family; his wife, Betty, whose aim is to be what Clive wants in a wife; their servant, Joshua, who lives only for his white master; and their son, Edward, who confesses that he finds it difficult to be what his father wants him to be. The marginalization of women is clear when Clive declares that his daughter (literally a doll), his mother-in-law, and the governess do not need to speak.

With the arrival of the explorer Harry Bagley and the widow Mrs. Saunders, the sexual games begin, with Harry romancing Betty and then taking Joshua to the barn. Clive disappears under Mrs. Saunders’ skirt for a farcical sexual encounter interrupted when the others arrive for the Christmas picnic. Betty tries to convince Harry to take her away, but he says that he needs her where she is. Harry and Edward reveal a sexual encounter together that Harry insists was a sin. Ellen confesses her love to an uncomprehending Betty.

The games are interrupted by a native uprising, and the women, in a darkened room, discuss the men’s flogging of servants. Mrs. Saunders is critical, arguing that the only way out is to leave the colony. Edward returns to the women’s circle and is punished by Betty for playing with Victoria’s doll. He confesses to Clive that he also said he hated his father and did not want to be like him. He is forgiven because of his brave confession, then stands up to Joshua when he insults Betty.

In rapid succession, Edward confronts Harry, Ellen again confesses her love to a still-mystified Betty, and Harry mistakes Clive’s glorifying of male friendship for a homosexual overture. Shocked, Clive insists that Harry get married in order to save himself. Mrs. Saunders, refusing Harry’s proposal, brings news that Joshua’s mother and father were killed by whites. Joshua responds that Clive is his mother and his father, but when Joshua informs Clive of Ellen’s overtures to Betty, Clive orders him out of his sight. As Clive proposes a toast to the hastily arranged marriage between Ellen and Harry, Joshua approaches with a gun to shoot Clive. Edward sees him but merely covers his ears.

Act 2 opens in 1979 in a London park, but the characters are only twenty-five years older. This act is primarily realistic. Lin, a divorced lesbian mother, and Victoria watch their children at a playground. Edward, now openly homosexual, brings Betty, who is leaving Clive and thinking about getting a job, to visit. Her change leads the others to consider their own relationships. Lin and Victoria begin an affair. Victoria considers a job in Manchester, wishing that her husband, Martin, could be a wife and follow her. Edward loses his lover Gerry, and Lin learns that her soldier brother has been killed in Northern Ireland. Victoria, Edward, and Lin get drunk and try a ceremony to call up the goddess. Instead, the ghost of Lin’s brother comes, not to impart wisdom but for sex. Victoria, Edward, and Lin decide to live together, with Edward doing the housework and the women working. In a long monologue, Betty discusses the joys of masturbation and coming into her own. The play ends with characters still trying to renegotiate roles and relationships, as Betty rejects Clive and embraces Betty from act 1.

Context

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 327

In Cloud Nine, Churchill focuses on an important feminist topic—sexual politics. She views the subject from a wide range of points of view and with humor and sensitivity. Expanding the feminist concern that restrictive gender roles rob women of power, she includes homosexuals and those oppressed by colonialism, connecting their powerlessness to the “feminization” of women. This approach is consistent with Churchill’s socialist feminism, for certainly colonialism is the most ruthless extension of capitalism. Churchill allows patriarchy and capitalism to dominate the first act of Cloud Nine, primarily through the character of Clive, but the second act belongs to Victoria and Betty, both of whom are stretching the boundaries of their sex-related roles.

Churchill breaks important ground in several areas. She deals with gay and feminist politics and the relationship between them. She presents a socialist feminist’s perspective of the sexual revolution of the 1970’s. She goes beyond viewing sexuality as an area of oppression to see it as a place where, with some effort, gains can be made. Yet the play has been criticized by a number of reviewers, including some feminists, for its failure to arrive at a solution for the problems that it delineates. The second act has been seen as devoid of struggle. It may be, however, that these critics are looking for the same sort of “right” answer hoped for by men such as Clive.

What Churchill has offered in this play is a series of portraits of women—and others—struggling with prescribed roles, looking for ways out, and finally committing themselves to a continued search, based on self-acceptance and an openness to myriad possibilities, as opposed to a right answer. As Churchill herself has said, “Playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions.” Churchill’s contribution, in this play as in others, is to ask questions that challenge assumptions and to leave her audiences and critics with vivid stage pictures that present strong images of those questions.

Historical Context

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 934

Women’s Liberation Movement
Britain in the 1970s was marked by vigorous and politically effective campaigns for women’s rights and gay rights. The First National Women’s Liberation Conference was held in Oxford in 1970. The goals it decided upon were equal pay for women, equal opportunity in education and employment, abortion rights, day care, and free contraception. The women’s liberation movement aimed to raise women’s consciousness about social issues and encouraged them to challenge some of the basic underpinnings of a male-dominated society—the assumption that women should always be secondary to men, for example, or that women are important only through their relationships with men. Women increasingly challenged the traditional division of labor in the family and in the workplace. They rejected the idea that certain roles, such as child-rearing and housekeeping, were suited only to women, and they fought for the right to pursue careers in areas traditionally open only to men. They argued that traditional gender roles had been constructed by a male-dominated society rather than being inherent in the nature of human life. And what had been socially constructed could also be changed.

During this time, there was a feeling of excitement among many women that a new era was dawning. Gillian Hanna, one of the founders of the feminist theatre company Monstrous Regiment, recollected:

We wanted to change the world. At the time, this didn’t seem like such an outrageous project. All around us, women in every area of the world we knew were doing the same thing. It seemed as natural as breathing.

The women’s movement made a measurable impact on 1970s British society. The Equal Pay Act of 1970, which was implemented in 1975, established the principle of equal pay for equal work. In 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act banned discrimination on the grounds of gender or marital status and established the Equal Opportunities Commission. Women also gained the right to maternity leave.

Gay Liberation Movement
A major landmark in the acceptance of homosexuality in Britain was the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, which decriminalized homosexuality between consenting adults in private. The age of consent was fixed at twenty-one, five years older than the age of consent for heterosexual acts. (In 1994, the age of consent for homosexual acts was lowered to eighteen.) But gay people still faced discrimination, such as being fired from their jobs or denied custody of their children. In 1970, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was formed. That year, the first gay rights demonstration in Britain took place in London. More than one hundred members of the GLF protested police harassment and intimidation. The first Gay Pride march was held in London in 1972, and a newspaper, Gay News, was published from 1972 to 1983. Adapting a slogan from the American civil rights movement (‘‘black is beautiful’’), gays proclaimed that ‘‘gay is good.’’ They rejected the shame and guilt that had often accompanied gay life in the past, due to disapproval of homosexuality by church and state and to almost universally negative portrayals of gays in the media.

The GLF also organized radical protests involving sit-ins at pubs (the British equivalent of a bar) that refused to serve gays, and GLF activists disrupted a lecture by noted psychiatrist Professor Hans Eysenck after he advocated electric-shock aversion therapy to ‘‘cure’’ homosexuality. The increasing visibility of gay people encouraged many to ‘‘come out’’ and live openly (as Edward and Gerry do in Cloud Nine), without having to disguise the fact that they were gay. Many gays (as well as feminists) linked their oppression to the structure of the traditional family. By learning to form nontraditional family structures, many gays declared that they had rejected the masculine and feminine roles that society had designed for them. During this period, gays became freer in discussing the ways in which a masculine identity had been imposed on them in their upbringing although such an identity did not correspond to what they felt themselves to be (just as in the play, Edward comes to realize that the kind of man his father expected him to become was not who he was).

Women’s and Gay Theater
The 1970s saw the emergence of feminist and gay theater in Britain. Cultural historian Michelene Wandor, in Carry On, Understudies, divides this period into four phases. From 1969 to 1973, avantgarde and experimental writing flourished, and street theater companies performed plays that probed social issues from a socialist and feminist viewpoint. Theater was viewed as a means of raising women’s social consciousness. Phase two was from 1973 to 1977, during which alternative theater gained some stability as a result of receiving state subsidies. This was the period when women’s professional theater companies, dedicated to producing work by women or emphasizing women’s issues, began to spring up. The most prominent of these were the Women’s Theatre Group (1974) and Monstrous Regiment (1975–76). Churchill became involved in Monstrous Regiment and wrote her play Vinegar Tom for the company. During the same period, Gay Sweatshop, a theater company made up of lesbians and gay men, was also formed. Phase three, from 1977 onward, was a period of contraction for alternative theater groups, as the Arts Council reduced its subsidies. Phase four, according to Wandor, was from 1979 onward, when numerous female and gay playwrights came to prominence. These were either new writers with confident voices as a result of the work done by others over the previous decade or experienced writers who had worked through the previous stages and developed a stronger theatrical voice. These writers included, in addition to Churchill and Wandor herself, Pam Gems, Mary O’Malley, Nell Dunn, and Claire Luckham.

Literary Style

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 741

Gender Reversals
The play uses a number of unconventional techniques to create its effects. One of these is for some of the characters to be played by actors of the opposite gender. This reinforces the theme of undermining gender stereotyping. For example, Edward as a nine-year-old boy is played by a woman, which visually reinforces for the audience the notion that Edward does not behave in the way his Victorian family believes a boy should. Betty is played by a man because, as Churchill states in her introduction to the play, ‘‘she wants to be what men want her to be.’’ She does not value herself as a woman. Her true nature is therefore hidden from herself and others. Joshua is played by a white man, to reinforce the idea that he has embraced the values of white culture and behaves as his white employers expect of him.

In act two, the characters are played for the most part by members of their own gender. Betty is now played by a woman, which visually reinforces for the audience the fact that for the first time she is discovering who she really is. Edward is played by a man, to show that he has found his own identity and is comfortable with being gay.

The only exception to this is that four-year-old Cathy is played by a man. This has the same effect as the playing of Edward by a woman in act one. It subverts traditional expectations of how a girl should behave and what interests she should have. Cathy, for example, likes to play rough games with the boys, and she also plays with a toy gun. The other reason for having Cathy played by a man is, as Churchill writes, ‘‘because the size and presence of a man on stage seemed appropriate to the emotional force of young children.’’

Structure
Another unconventional technique in the play is the use in act two of many of the same characters from act one, even though the action takes place one hundred years later. Churchill managed this by having the characters age only twenty-five years from act one to act two.

The two acts are different in other ways, too. The first is dominated by men, especially Clive, who tries hard to keep everything under control, arranged the way he believes things should be. But the second act is dominated more by the women and the gays, who show a capacity for change and a willingness to entertain new ways of being and living. Those who were powerless earlier—Betty in particular—now grow into positions in which they feel more in control of their destinies. The fact that when the play was first staged the actor who played Clive in act one also played the child Cathy in act two reinforces this idea of the reversals that have taken place—the powerlessness of the old ideals in a new world. (Churchill wrote the play for seven actors, which means that some parts must be doubled. It is not essential, however, that Clive be doubled with Cathy; other combinations are possible.) In act two it is the man, Martin, the equivalent of Clive in act one, who must struggle to come to terms with the new feminist consciousness rather than have everything his own way.

Another way in which the structure of the play allows the playwright to convey her themes occurs at the end of act one. The final scene appears to have the form of a typical romantic comedy. Enemies are banished, order is restored, love triumphs, and there is a wedding celebration for the happy couple. Clive appears to sum things up when he makes a speech in neatly rhymed verse that ends, ‘‘All murmuring of discontent is stilled. / Long may you live in peace and joy and bliss.’’ But, of course, the reality is somewhat different. Not only is there a nasty little quarrel about the doll, as a result of which Clive hits his son, but there is also the more fundamental fact that all the words in praise of the marriage and in celebration of the ending of discontent are false. Nothing is what it appears, since Ellen and Harry are in fact gay and are marrying merely to shore up appearances, and a drunken Joshua is about to take a shot at Clive. The ostensibly comic form is belied by the reality of the situation.

Compare and Contrast

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 423

1880: The British Empire is at the height of its power. More than a quarter of the world’s landmass is under British rule, including large portions of Africa.

1980: Britain has long since renounced its empire and is now a middle-sized European power and a member of the European Community (EC). There is an ongoing debate in Britain about how much national sovereignty should be surrendered to an EC bureaucracy.

Today: Britain’s colonial legacy is apparent in the sometimes troubled relations between the races in what is now a multi-ethnic nation. The majority of non-white Britons are descendents of Asian or West Indian immigrants (former subjects of the British Empire) who were admitted to Britain beginning in the 1950s. In 2001, race riots erupt in three northern English cities.

1880: In Britain, women are not allowed to vote, and educational opportunities are limited. In the better-off families, a woman’s place is in the home, supervising the large household and entertaining visitors. Only working-class women take paid employment, in the textile industry, for example, or as domestic help.

1980: The women’s movement is a powerful force in British society, and discrimination by gender or marital status is illegal. Britain has its first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and the number of women in the professions increases, as does the number of women in the workforce as a whole. But women’s earnings still lag behind those of men.

Today: Economic inequalities between men and women remain. In Britain, women’s earnings are only 81 percent of men’s. Women still face obstacles to career success, including the socalled glass ceiling (a barrier that is invisible but is nonetheless there), which make it difficult for women to be promoted to the highest levels in business.

1880: The growing suffragette movement, with its aim of securing voting rights for women and access to the professions, helps to bring more women into work in the theater. Many actresses play important roles in producing and performing plays.

1980: As a result of the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s, an impressive number of plays are written and produced by women, many of which dramatize issues that are important in the lives of women.

Today: Young women playwrights now start writing, confident of their equal status with men. But women involved in British theater also say that women need to have greater access to money and resources, that there should be more women in positions of power in theater management, and that more plays by women should be produced in large theaters.

Bibliography and Further Reading

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 275

Sources
Aston, Elaine, Caryl Churchill, Northcote House, 1997, pp. 31–37.

Churchill, Caryl, Cloud Nine, in Plays, Methuen, 1985, pp. 245–320.

Fanon, Frantz, Black Skins, White Masks, Grove Press, 1967.

Lloyd Evans, Gareth, and Barbara Lloyd Evans, Plays in Review, 1956–1980: British Drama and the Critics, Batsford Academic and Educational, 1985, pp. 235–36.

Millett, Kate, Sexual Politics, Virago, 1977.

Wandor, Michelene, Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

Weintraub, Erica Beth, ‘‘Caryl Churchill,’’ in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 13: British Dramatists Since World War II, edited by Stanley Weintraub, Gale Research, 1982, pp. 118–24.

Further Reading
Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig, Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights, William Morrow, 1987, pp. 75–84. In this interview, Churchill talks about her work, including Cloud Nine, Top Girls, Fen, and other plays.

Gray, Francis, ‘‘Mirrors of Utopia: Caryl Churchill and Joint Stock,’’ in British and Irish Drama since 1960, edited by James Acheson, St. Martin’s, 1993, pp. 47–59. Gray examines the far-reaching consequences of the plays that emerged from Churchill’s work with the Joint Stock Company, which added a political dimension to her work. He includes an analysis of Cloud Nine.

Itzin, Catherine, Stages in the Revolution: Political Theatre in Britain since 1968, Eyre Methuen, 1980. This is a year-by-year account of the development of what Itzen calls the theater of political change from 1968 to 1978. She includes sections on Churchill and the important women’s companies of the period as well as other companies that gave opportunities to women writers and performers.

Wandor, Michelene, Drama Today: A Critical Guide to British Drama, 1970–1990, Longman, 1993. This is a concise guide to themes, writers, and works in contemporary British drama. Wandor discusses Churchill along with Nell Dunn, Harold Pinter, Edward Bond, Alan Ayckbourn, and others.

Bibliography

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 479

Aston, Elaine. Caryl Churchill. Miami: University of Miami Press, 1996.

Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig, eds. Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. New York: Beech Tree Books, 1987. In an interview, Churchill discusses the necessity of feminism being connected to socialist goals and decries feminism tied to “getting ahead,” or to capitalist goals. She also discusses the differences between the London and New York productions of Cloud Nine.

Churchill, Caryl. “A Fair Cop.” Interview by Lynne Truss. Plays and Players, no. 364 (January, 1984): 8-10. Churchill discusses the doubling of roles and the effect of the changed ending in the New York production of Cloud Nine.

Cousin, Geraldine. Churchill: The Playwright. London: Methuen Drama, 1989. This book contains information on Churchill’s use of the workshop process, as well as analyses of her plays and a summary chapter that connects themes shared by the plays. A section of Cloud Nine discusses Churchill’s workshop with the Joint Stock Theatre Group and analyzes the play’s structure.

Diamond, Elin. “Refusing the Romanticism of Identity: Narrative Interventions in Churchill, Benmussa, Duras.” Theater Journal 38 (October, 1985): 273-286.

Fitzsimmons, Linda. File of Churchill. London: Methuen Drama, 1989. A comprehensive list of plays, including unperformed ones. Features a selection of reviews and Churchill’s comments on her work, including a letter that Churchill wrote to a director in rehearsal for the play. The letter focuses on character analysis and on how the characters should be played.

Keyssar, Helene. “The Dramas of Caryl Churchill: The Politics of Possibility.” In Feminist Theatre: An Introduction to Plays of Contemporary British and American Women. New York: Grove Press, 1985.

Kritzer, Amelia Howe. The Plays of Caryl Churchill: Theatre of Empowerment. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991. Written from a feminist perspective, this book opens with an overview of theories of drama and theater and of feminist and socialist criticism in relation to Churchill’s drama. The chapter entitled “Sex and Gender” includes an extensive analysis of Clound Nine.

Randall, Phyllis R., ed. Caryl Churchill: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1988. This casebook features a variety of essays and an annotated bibliography. “ ‘The Work of Culture’: Cloud Nine and Sex/Gender Theory” discusses the play in the contexts of both feminist and gay politics and writing.

Ritchie, Bob. The Joint Stock Book: The Making of a Theatre Collective. London: Methuen, 1987.

Swanson, Michael. “Mother/Daughter Relationships in Three Plays by Caryl Churchill.” Theater Studies 31 (1986): 49-66.

Thomas, Jane. “The Plays of Caryl Churchill: Essays in Refusal.” In The Death of the Playwright?, edited by Adrian Page. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1992. This essay analyzes Cloud Nine and Top Girls (1982) in light of Churchill’s acknowledged reading of Michel Foucault’s Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison (1975; Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, 1977).

Thomsen, Christian W. “Three Socialist Playwrights: John McGrath, Caryl Churchill, Trevor Griffiths.” In Contemporary English Drama, edited by C. W. E. Bigsby. London: E. Arnold, 1981.

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-hour free trial
Previous

Critical Essays

Next

Teaching Guide

Explore Study Guides