Churchill, Caryl

Tagged: Author

(1938-    ) UK Television writer and playwright, active and prolific from 1958. Though much of her work, as typical in the Theatre, make metaphorized use of fantasy topoi, several of her many dramas can be experienced in terms of literal Fantastika. Moving Clocks Go Slow (performed 1973) is set in the Near Future, after decades of Ecological degradation has caused worldwide starvation. Act one of Cloud 9 (performed 1979; 1979), set in 1870, features a cast of Imperial Britons serving in Africa; in act two, almost a century later, caught in a kind of Time Distortion, the cast has aged only twenty-five years, and has learned nothing. Crimes (broadcast 1982 BBC) is set in a Near Future Dystopian Britain in which the countryside is forbidden to city dwellers. In Top Girls (performed 1982; 1982), the managing director of an employment agency has to lunch a number of women she admires, from various times (the Time Travel involved is implicit). The protagonist of Seagulls (in Shorts, coll 1990) find that her Psi Power, which is Telekinesis, is fading. In the surreal setting of Far Away (performed 2000; 2000) a Future War is being conducted with the use of animals. A Number (performed 2002; 2002) unpacks a indefinite number of Clones whose lives come together after two of them have been killed, and who meet the father of them all; a television version appeared later (broadcast 2008 BBC). Brechtian estrangement effects are explored through her career; and several later plays are conducted in dance. [JC]

Caryl Churchill

born London: 3 September 1938


works (highly selected)

  • Cloud 9 (London: Pluto Press, 1979) [play: first performed 14 February 1979 Dartington College of Arts, Devon: pb/]
  • Top Girls (London: Methuen Drama, 1982) [play: first performed 28 August 1982 Royal Court Theatre, London: pb/]
  • Seagulls, in Shorts (London: Nick Hern Books, 1990) [play: coll: pb/]
  • Far Away (London: Nick Hern Books, 2000) [play: first performed November 2000 Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London: pb/]
  • A Number (London: Nick Hern Books, 2002) [play: first performed 23 September 2002 Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London: pb/]


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