Whittier College News Release

Whittier College
Office of Public Relations
13406 Philadelphia St.
P.O. Box 634
Whittier, CA  90608-0634
Nov. 11, 2002       

Reference:  02/03: 35     
  Judy Browning at (562) 907-4216

Theatre Department on “Cloud Nine” at Whittier College 

          “Cloud Nine,” a farcical melodrama with elements of modern realistic theatre,
written by Caryl Churchill, will be presented by the Whittier College Department of
Theatre Arts Nov. 20–24, at the
Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts. 
The show will begin at
8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

          The play uses cross-dressing and role-doubling to problematize the relationship
between colonialism and sexual oppression in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to
director Jennifer S. Holmes, assistant professor of theatre arts.  Act One begins in a
British colony in
Africa during Victorian times. Act Two concludes in London in 1979. 
Although 100 years have passed, the characters age only 25 years.

          Holmes said Churchill was very specific about the casting, insisting that a white
person play Joshua, a black servant to Clive, and that Clive’s wife, Betty, be played by
a man.  Other unusual portrayals include Edward, Clive’s son, being played by a woman
and Cathy, a four-year-old girl, in Act Two being played by a man.  

Cloud 9 asks us to question what meanings lie in the socially constructed categorizations of gender, race, and sexuality,” Holmes said. “It asks us to think
about—and perhaps feel—how these meanings work to structure the relationship
between self and society.  And finally, it asks, how do categorizations of gender, race
and sexuality affect the relationship we have with one another, and with ourselves?”

The cast (and their roles in the first and second acts) includes freshman Sean
Bergman of Tucson, Ariz., as Betty and Edward; sophomore Kimi Buser of Houston,
Texas, as Edward and Betty; sophomore Jason Darnell of Felton, Calif., as Clive and
Cathy; freshman Joseph Fontana of Bayville, N.Y., as Joshua and Gerry; senior Elizabeth
Holt of Colorado Springs, Colo., as Mrs. Saunders; senior Kate Knochel of Tucson, Ariz.,
as Maud and Victoria; freshman Katia Perdoni, of Hoffman, Minn., as the Unamed Figure
and Soldier; sophomore Christian Sorenson, of Bellevue, Wash., as Harry and Martin;
and sophomore Stephanie Stevens of Norwalk, Calif., as Ellen and Lin.

          Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for students and senior citizens. 
Tickets and information are available by calling the Shannon Center Box Office at

          Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent,
four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional
programs taught in the context of the liberal arts.  Whittier Law School, which is
accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of
American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.

Whittier College Office of Communications
13406 Philadelphia » P.O. Box 634 » Whittier, CA 90608-0634
Tel: (562) 907-4213 » Fax: (562) 907-4927