Caryl Churchill's Top Girls Review

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  • Topic: Top Girls, Royal Court Theatre, Caryl Churchill
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  • Published : May 12, 2011
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TOP GIRLS. Caryl Churchill
Top Girls is a 1982 play by Caryl Churchill. It is about a woman named Marlene, a career woman who is employed at the 'Top Girls' employment agency. It looks closely at her family she left behind. Marlene left her poor life to enjoy success, and we find out that she left her illegitimate child with her sister.

The play was premiered at the Royal Court Theatre, London on 28 August 1982. It was directed by Max Stafford-Clark, the Royal Court's Artistic Director, who premiered several of Caryl Churchill's plays. The cast was Selina Cadell, Lindsay Duncan, Deborah Findlay, Carole Hayman, Lesley Manville, Gwen Taylor and Lou Wakefield.

During the 2007-2008 New York theatre season, Manhattan Theatre Club presented the play at the Biltmore Theatre in a production starring Mary Catherine Garrison, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Ikeda, Elizabeth Marvel, Martha Plimpton, Ana Reeder, and Marisa Tomei. The production was directed by frequent Churchill collaborator James Macdonald. The MTC production marked the Broadway premiere of "Top Girls", though the original Royal Court production had visited New York's Public Theatre.

Themes

The play is set in Britain and implicitly condemns the increasing incidence of Thatcherite values in society, especially their effect on Feminism. Churchill has stated that the play was inspired by her conversations with American feminists: it comments on the contrast between American feminism, which celebrates individualistic women who acquire power and wealth, and British socialist feminism, which involves collective group gain. In addition, there is also a commentary on Margaret Thatcher, the then Prime Minister, who also celebrated individualism and believed in Neoliberalism (Thatcherism). Marlene the tough career woman is portrayed as soulless, exploiting other women and suppressing her own caring instincts in the cause of success. The play argues against the style of feminism that simply turns...
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