‘Cloud 9’ tastefully delivers controversial, taboo topics

Oct. 6, 2014

Alexander Nedd
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A hush fell over the crowd in University Hall as the stage lights revealed a British flag draped over black curtains.

The cast soon took the attention away from the flag and performed “Cloud 9”, a student-run production that ended Oct. 5 after two weekend runs in late September and early October.

A British colonial administrator (Alexander Niforatos) and a family that mixed everything from a flamboyant young son played by a girl (Kayka Kuemmerle), a black servant casted by a white guy (Alex Williams) and a wife played by another man (Tobias Kaesandy) took the stage.

Written by Caryl Churchill, the play was difficult and controversial to act and cast.

Each actor played two characters, a job that can make memorizing lines and accurate portrayals difficult. Thankfully, the talent and willpower of the cast shot the production into one of UCCS’ most memorable performances.

The play followed a contrapuntal structure, as the storyline involved two independent stories that connect.

The first act followed the lives of a family in colonial Britain’s past, which exemplified traditional thoughts of affairs, sexual orientation and expected behavior from both men and women of that time period.

The second act fast-forwarded 25 years. Set in London, characters from the first act are older and played by different actors. They explore sexual drives and social roles that were forbidden in colonial Britain.

The play focused on the need to accept others who are different and to rethink how we look at social roles.

In her director notes, Churchill explained the need to cross-dress and put racial and age casting to unsettle the audience, a move that was perfectly replicated by student director and theater major Deanna Kitchen.

Kitchen, with the help of her student crew Timmy Vilgiate, Hanna Hopper, Robbie Armstrong and Arzu Furtado, expertly put the play together in about a month and a half. It was Kitchen’s first time directing a production.

“Cloud 9” delivers the controversy and taboo subjects we love to engage in but fear to admit to. The play highlighted the very best of what actors can do and learn here at UCCS. As an adult production, the roles of the cast were far beyond their years (or sometimes way beneath when acting as a child), but executed with precision that allowed the audience to both relate and understand where each character was coming from.

Leading man Niforatos and the rest of the cast’s chemistry left the audience impressed with their work.

After curtain call audience members were able to talk to, congratulate and share their thoughts with those in the play. Claire Williams is a senior from Woodland Park High School and hopes to come to UCCS after graduation.

“The actors were very talented,” Williams said. “To change characters like that must have been hard, they should be very proud of their work.”

Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars