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Top Girls by Caryl Churchill [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Open University Worldwide
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0749228210
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,853 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Synopsis

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.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Top Girls is a play that I have read previously (of course, being a drama student) but not for many years, so I was excited when Stacie picked it as her #RandomReads choice. I couldn’t really remember what I thought about it. I do sometimes find Caryl Churchill plays go a little over my head, a lot probably to do with the fact some are quite topical to eras that I know little about. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them though, and Vinegar Tom has always been a favourite of mine.This is a tricky one to review because I didn’t find it provoked feelings in me such as liking it, or disliking it, rather, it just made me think. While I read it, I didn’t really think too much of it: I wasn’t exactly bored, but I wasn’t really enjoying it either. But afterwards it stuck with me and I kept returning to it for days afterwards.
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.
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