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Top Girls (Student Editions) Paperback – 15 Jul 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama; Revised edition edition (15 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408106035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408106037
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

""Top Girls" has a combination of directness and complexity which keeps you both emotionally and intellectually alert. You can smell life, and at the same time feel locked in an argument with an agile and passionate mind."--"The Sunday Times""A dramatist who must surely be rated among the half-dozen best now writing a playwright of genuine audacity and assurance, able to use her considerable wit and intelligence in ways at once unusual, resonant and dramatically riveting."--"New Statesman""One of our best writers her play is brilliantly conceived with considerable wit to illuminate the underlying deep human seriousness of her theme."--"Spectator"

About the Author

Caryl Churchill has written for the stage, television and radio. Her acclaimed body of work includes Three More Sleepless Nights (1980); Top Girls (1982); Fen (1983); Mouthful of Birds (1986); Serious Money (1989); The Skriker (1984); Blue/Heart (1998) and Far Away in Autumn (2000).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. Fermor on 18 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This offering from feminist playwright Caryl Churchill is an uncompromising critique of the capitalist mode of feminism as advocated by the model of the eighties power women, most obviously personified by Margaret Thatcher.

'Top Girls' deploys an interesting technique whereby characters narratives overlap leading to complicated scenarios wherein meaning is lost in the melee of competing voices. It certainly makes for difficult listening or reading but acts uniquely as a physical representation of the interupted and disjointed histories of the women whose situation it aims to ameliorate.

The play is split into three main sections. The first act witnesses the meeting of various fictional and non-fictional characters from history, literature and art at a dinner party. The party has been organised to celebrate the recent career success of central character Marlene. Marlene works for an agency designed to find jobs for women.

The first section reflects the women's various instances of "success" whilst exposing the commonality of their suffering both at the hands of men and indeed at their hands of their own complicity with the phallocentric societies in which they found themselves.

The next two acts are situated in the present, within a year of each other, and focus on Marlene's character. This present experience acts as an interesting counterpoint to the dinner-time narratives. It becomes abundantly clear that Marlene too, though ostensibly successful, comes with her own baggage and we are asked to quesiton how far indeed women have come, if at all.

'Top Girls' should not be mistaken for a cynical and negative play: far from it.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Top Girls is one of a number of plays written by the brilliant Caryl Churhill. First performed in the Royal Court Theatre, 1982, the play proved a raging success, also entertaining the Americans when Performed in Joseph Papps Public Theatre New York. Top Girls is a play not neccessarily concerned with providing answers but asking questions, mainly about the rather archaic and unfair patriarchal society in which all of the women in this play are living in, or indeed, have lived in. It also deals with certain issues about women and the world of work, and more specifically, the prices that are attatched to personal success and acheivment. Top Girls is a play which delivers the fundamental elements which theatre is based upon, and goes a lot further and deeper than this. It has educational values and an extremely serious aspect to it, but at the same time can be intriguigly entertaining and addictive, so much so that one may feel that they are emotionally dragged into one of the many, sometimes tense, sometimes funny, sometimes shocking conversations between the brilliantly constucted characters.
However, there is an underlying seriousness to the play which Churchill manages to mix well with the half hearted humour evident throughout the play. Her idea of bringing different flavours of women, from past and present, and placing them around a table as she does in act one, is ambitious to say the least. It does, however, work well, with each character highlighting the changing ideas and themes towards women and oppression. Overall Top Girls is a Top read. Characters are constructed well, and the plot has a somewhat eye opening twist. Would suit anyone in the adult bracket (contains explicit language), who have an interest in the role of women in society, throughout history.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By commedesfilles on 19 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hoping to buy the play for Top Girls, and clicked on the link for this one as it was the cheaper of the two paperbacks. I didn't notice any information on whether this was the play, notes, or both, so I assumed it would be like books I've got before: the play accompanied by notes.
This is a book of notes to help with revision and analysis of the play. The play is not included.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil Gosser Duncan on 14 Feb. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I purchased this primarily for the production itself, which would have been impressive and satisfying on a stand-alone basis, what makes this invaluable is the additional material: the interviews with Caryl Churchill, director Max Stafford-Clark, and the actors from the 1982 and 1991 productions, as well as two academics. Their contributions address issues across the board,: the evolution of the text, the adaptation for TV, characterization, theme, direction, questions of style and genre. One example which illustrates this: one of the actors who appeared in both the original 1982 production referred to her notes/diary in which her character was "colder" than in the 1991 production, giving us insight into how actors and director may approach the play - and that they may do so differently at different times. Highly recommended.
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This play has been a joy to read and study in both creative writing and literature modules with the OU. The innovative way Churchill writes her scripts is interesting to the point where I've been wondering why every single script in the world hasn't been written in the same way.

Top Girls is essentially about the conflict between men and women, and capitalism and socialism. It was written in 1982 and incorporates the problems of that time in Britain - Thatcherism and it's consequences (and what it was a result of too, basically). There are only female characters in the play but it's not so easy to not compare a few of the characters to how we expect men to behave. However for the most part it's actually comparing women with women. The characters are all different from each other, even those who on the surface seem very similar until you really understand their back story. Knowing what they have given up to get where they are, and what they have taken on from other women, and what their prospects could have been or will be, is what really makes you think.

For female professionals like myself it's difficult not to see familiarity in the choices made so certainly any professional woman coming to this play will, at some point, be a little uncomfortable. But that's what makes you think and though it all it's an enjoyable play.

If you're a man I don't think you should be put off by talk of this being a feminist play, or by the all-female cast (we've had to put up with all male casts too you know) because it's a really good play and if it might just open your eyes to the choices ordinary women have to make about their lives, that men don't always have to consider in such detail.

Fully recommended.
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