Bodies in Interaction: An exploration of Postcolonialism and Postgender in the play Cloud 9, by Caryl Churchill
Date: Thursday 6th of October, 17:00 BST
Facilitator: Dra Katherina Walper G.
Universidad Austral de Chile
Have you ever thought about how it is that we communicate with each other? Apart from speaking, what do we do with the rest of our bodies? Come to this workshop and we will explore this together!
This workshop will be a hands on-session (aka it will be participative and, hopefully, quite fun!)in which we will be working through the main themes in Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 (1978): postcolonialism and post-gender.
First, the workshop will begin with an introduction to the role our bodies play in interaction. Second, we will explore the play, its relevance, and the themes it develops. The plot line and the characters will be introduced, as well as the innovative methods employed by Caryl Churchill in creating this play. What is most interesting about the play is not the language, the setting, or the context in which it is set, but the way Churchill expands the limits of playwriting. For example, female characters are played by men. (What does this mean for our bodies?) An African servant is played by a white actor (wait, what?), etc. Actors change characters from Act I to Act II. For example, the British WASP Male Coloniser in Act I, becomes a girl in Act II. Act I is set in colonial Britain, Act II is set in contemporary London where we explore the lives of the son and daughter of the coloniser. There is certainly a connection between each character switch and playwriting decision which we will explore together. Even more importantly for us, it is the bodies of such actors who embody these connections.
Second, the workshop will move on to a theatre improv session based on excerpts of the play. In order to connect with our bodies, a short activity will be done based on drama techniques (warm-up). Then, attendees will receive the scripts and will get together in groups to read different scenes aloud and to perform them. They will be given the chance to explore different ways of embodying their characters. They will need to ask themselves: how do I show others that I am a colonial administrator? How does a colonised African servant walk across the room? How does the gay son of the coloniser behave in the presence of his father? Etc. Accommodations will be done so that those attending online also have a chance to explore the characters together.
To finish, we will share our performances and attendees will share the decisions made in the groups. Together, we will uncover what this experience has meant for each one of us.
Modality: Hybrid (40 participants; 20 online, 20 in person)