Top Girls by Caryl Churchill [DVD]
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Caryl Churchill is one of England's best-known and most respected contemporary playwrights. This video introduces one of her most widely acclaimed plays, "Top Girls", looking at its production history and, in particular, at the 1991 televised performance of the play which is shown in full. The final part of the video features a series of interviews with the playwright, actors and director involved in the production, discussing how the idea originated, how the play is portrayed on both stage and screen, the different characters and themes in the play, and how the title "Top Girls" came about and its significance.
Top Customer Reviews
'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.Read more ›
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.
This is a book of notes to help with revision and analysis of the play. The play is not included.
I think I would have enjoyed watching this play more than reading it. There’s a lot of overlap in the conversations: while this may be truthful to real life, it sometimes made it confusing to read. I imagine it would work better in practice than me trying to do it in my head…
For me, Top Girls captured a lot of what it is to be a woman. In the first scene, all these famous women from history tell stories of their escapades. Some of it is comedic, some incredible and some upsetting. We see a lot of how men try to (and often do) control women in some horrendous stories. In others, women need to imitate men just to be taken seriously. Their children are used as weapons against them.
It’s difficult to pin down the underlying feeling of the play. It could be seen as depressing, how these women are made to suffer in ways men are not. While some is historical, we all know that feminism is an issue and equality is not here yet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beginning with a mélange of female historical and literary personages like the pioneering Victorian explorer Isabella Bird, Chaucer's 'patient Griselda' from 'The Clerk's... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mr. G. Morgan
Book arrived 3 days before scheduled,very good service,as advertised.Couldn't be happier.Published 20 months ago by ross whamond