Top girls caryl churchill summary
Top Girls by Caryl ChurchillSet in the early Thatcher years, Top Girls is a seminal play of the modern theatre, revealing a world of womens experience at a pivotal moment in British history. Told by an eclectic group of historical and modern characters in a continuous conversation across ages and generations, Top Girls was hailed as the best British play ever from a woman dramatist by The Guardian.
Top Girls by Caryl Churchill
Critics praise Top Girls for a number of reasons. Churchill explores the price of success paid for by the central character, Marlene, while using unusual techniques including a nonlinear construction, an overlapping dialogue, and a mix of fantasy and reality. The dinner party is the first scene of the play and, to many critics, the highlight of Top Girls.
Top Girls Summary & Study Guide
Act I of Top Girls takes place in a hip London restaurant where Marlene is gathering five other women to celebrate her promotion to managing director of Top Girls, the employment agency where she works. This scene is surreal, because Marlene's 5 dinner guests are female figures from different historical eras: Isabella Bird ; a 19th century writer and traveler, Lady Nijo ; a 13th century courtesan and later, Buddhist nun, Dull Gret ; the subject of a Brueghel painting who led an army of women into hell to fight the devils, Pope Joan ; a 9th century woman who disguised herself as a man and became Pope, and Patient Griselda ; the obedient wife from The Clerk's Tale in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. These women are bound together by their struggles against patriarchy and oppression - and Marlene relates to each of them differently. Act 2 is set at the Top Girls employment agency. Marlene is interviewing a woman named Jeanine who wants a new job because there are no prospects for advancement at her current position.
Marlene , a London businesswoman, hosts a dinner party at a nice restaurant to celebrate a recent promotion. Her guests are not friends, family members, or coworkers; however, they are women plucked from history, art, and myth. Among them are Isabella Bird , a nineteenth-century writer, explorer, and naturalist; Lady Nijo , a thirteenth-century concubine who became a wandering Buddhist nun after she fell out of favor at court; Dull Gret , the subject of a Flemish renaissance painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder; Pope Joan , a woman who disguised herself as a man and was appointed Pope in the Middle Ages; and Patient Griselda , a character from the stories of Boccaccio and Chaucer, whose obedience to her husband in the face of horrible mistreatment made her the stuff of legend. As the dinner party unfolds, the women eat ravenously, grow deeply intoxicated, and talk over one another as they share the stories of their often-painful lives. The following Monday, Marlene is back at her job at the Top Girls Employment Agency , interviewing a woman named Jeanine who hopes to be placed in a job that will pay more money and offer more opportunity for advancement. The girls bicker, insulting each other and calling each other names.
Top Girls opens in a restaurant where Marlene is hosting a dinner party for five friends. She has recently been promoted at work. The five guests are all women that are either long-dead or are fictional characters from literature or paintings. The first to come are Isabella Bird and Lady Nijo. Nijo and Isabella discuss their lives, including their families. Dull Gret and Pope Joan, who was elected to the papacy in the ninth century, appear. The conversation wanders between subjects, including religion and the love lives of Nijo and Isabella.
Since its earliest productions, Caryl Churchill's Top Girls was regarded as a unique, if difficult, play about the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world and society at large. The play is regularly performed around the world and has quickly become part of the canon of women's theater. Top Girls helped solidify Churchill's reputation as an important playwright. Critics praise Top Girls for a number of reasons. Churchill explores the price of success paid for by the central character, Marlene, while using unusual techniques including a nonlinear construction, an overlapping dialogue, and a mix of fantasy and reality.