Playwright Spotlight: Caryl Churchill

Playwright Caryl Churchill

Why do I love Caryl Churchill?  Well, she’s brilliant. She’s crazy. She’s crazy-brilliant. I love her plays (The Skriker).  I hate her plays (Cloud 9).  And her plays confuse the heck out of me (The Skriker; Cloud 9). I’m intrigued by the plays I’ve only half-read (Top Girls — it’s not my fault!  I only have an excerpt!) and I was so impressed (and confused) by The Skriker that I analyzed it for part of my master’s degree work. The bottom line is this; whatever my theatrical tastes, I recognize the genius in Churchill’s work. Her plays are striking, startling, funny and frightening. She performs linguistic gymnastics and crosses centuries in only years. Her characters are somehow otherworldly yet completely real. Which is probably why so much of her work so deeply disturbs me.

Caryl Churchill's THE SKRIKER, University of Minnesota Theatre Arts & Dance production

The plays of Caryl Churchill, for some, are an acquired taste. She does not shy away from the bizarre nor does she like to keep anything neat and clean. Pieces blend; people blend; time and identity blur in a way that comments more accurately on life than life itself. Maybe I’ll pick up a Churchill play and love it. Maybe I’ll hate it. Maybe I won’t know what the heck is going on even if I read it five times. But if I’m willing to read it five times, then I have to think it’s a play worth reading. And that, dramachicks, is quite a find.

The cast of Caryl Churchill's TOP GIRLS performed at the Biltmore in 2008. Photo by Julian Dufort.

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About dramachicky

I am a dramachick: a playwright, actress, director, wife, singer, reader, aunt, daughter, student, teacher, and dreamer. My husband has taken to calling me dramachicky. :-) I have my M.A. and M.F.A. in creative writing/playwriting from Wilkes University. My husband and I started a small theatre group in northeast Pennsylvania called Ghostlight Productions. I love all things theatre and I am thrilled to launch this blog as a celebration of women playwrights.
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6 Responses to Playwright Spotlight: Caryl Churchill

  1. “Seven Jewish Children – a Play for Gaza” is a powerful six pages. A punch in the gut. A pdf of the script used to be available online, but I can’t find it now. A video of a performance can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/video/2009/apr/25/seven-jewish-children-caryl-churchill

  2. dramachicky says:

    Oooo, thanks so much for the link! 🙂

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