Time Travelers

Once upon a time, there was a musical about an English man and his wife living in colonial Africa with his mother-in-law, their small boy and an African servant. But this is where it gets weird: A man plays the wife, a girl plays the small boy, and a white man plays the African slave. Got it? Cloud 9, part of this year’s National Theatre Conservatory series, is a musical farce, a gender bender, a time-warped roller coaster that takes the audience from 1880s Africa to London in 1979 and makes fun of relationships, sexuality and colonialism.

While the world moves ahead 100 years during the production, the characters only age by 25. “All these characters are giving a different look on who they really are,” said Marti Steger, programs manager for the NTC. “The slave, for example, is trying to be like his master instead of himself. It’s basically just a statement on government and power and politics and family. Then you’ve got a woman who is married to a man who is trying to write a book about women from the female perspective. You have the little boy, Edward, who is now 25 with a lover who isn’t faithful to him, and he’s worried about losing his job if his sexuality comes out. Although this play-turned-musical is almost thirty years old, there are issues in it that are still relevant and timely.”

Cloud 9 begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Conservatory Theatre, 1101 13th Street, in repertory with Macbeth; tickets are $18. For more information, go to www.denvercenter.org or call 303-893-4100.
April 8-25, 2009

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Mark Dragotta