‘Cloud Nine’ explores sexuality through time

New play titled
Image courtesy of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication

Sexuality, in all its forms, is a complicated subject to talk about and to understand. We’ve seen how it brings joy, sorrow and romance through different classic novels, but only a few stories have ever even come close to all the hormonal urges that occur.

However, CSUN’s theater department’s production of Cloud Nine by Carl Churchill really portrayed the different types of sexuality that are commonly shown today. The two act play showcased how power and structure affect sex and relationships from a woman’s perspective in a male-dominated life.

The play was a combination of two acts portraying a typical British family. Between the two acts, there is a 25 year time skip, meaning that these confusing thoughts about sex were actually a lot closer to the 19th century than previously thought.

During the first act, a number of characters faced different sexual occurrences. The neighborhood widow, Mrs. Sanders, comes to visit the family for safety concerns followed by uncle Harry. The husband of the household, Clive, ends up making advances on Mrs. Sanders, and Harry starts to secretly have relations with the servant and Clive’s son. The governess Ellen, who at the end reveals her true sexuality and is forced to marry Harry after Clive discovers his attraction towards him.

Each actor plays one role in the first act and a completely different role in the second.

The second act is set in 1979, but the same characters reappear. Clive’s wife has left him and her daughter Victoria is now married to a man named Martin, who she cannot stand. Victoria eventually falls into another relationship with someone else.

“The ending was my most favorite part,” said Araz Malcky, 19, Biology major. “The marriage at the end of Act 1 was my favorite. It ended differently then what I thought.”

The play’s varying portrayals of sexuality and offensive language are parallel to sexual oppression.

“If I had to pick, I don’t think I have a favorite part,” said Aliyah Ricks, 20, liberal studies major. “I really liked the whole play. I like how they talk about social norms that we see today, back then people weren’t sure what they were. It shows a shifting time.”

The humor in the play helps to somehow convey Churchill’s message about accepting people the way they are, even if they are of a different sexuality, and not forcing them into certain roles.

“It was definitely what my friend said it would be,” said 21-year-old vocal performance major Emily Blanco. “I am surprised. It is hilarious, so funny, especially the one liners.”

Every relationship in “Cloud Nine” slowly transitioned, turning it into a teasing of metaphors touching on the sexuality identity and portrayals of endless boundaries between them.