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Top Girls – Sterts Theatre
August 4, 2015 @ 7:30 pm| £10/£8/£6
Top Girls is Churchill’s best known work for the stage and considered to be one of the classics of 20th-century English theatre. The play’s success and reputation are based on two outstanding productions; one from The Royal Court in 1982 and one from Chichester Festival Theatre in 2011, both were directed by Max Stafford-Clark who worked closely with Caryl Churchill on both occasions.
The play is a three-act drama, which takes place across a fluid time line but is set in the 1980’s, focusing on the extremely assertive and driven character of Marlene, who has just been appointed Managing Director of a Recruitment Agency over the head of her male rival. The play famously opens with a dream dinner party where Marlene is celebrating her success with historic guests as diverse as the only female pope and a character from a Brueghel painting. The play examines the issue of what it means to be a successful woman; initially using ‘historical’ characters to explore different aspects of women’s ‘social achievement’. In addition, there is also a commentary on Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister, who celebrated personal achievement and believed in free-market capitalism. Marlene the tough career woman is portrayed as exploiting other women and suppressing her own caring side in the cause of success. The play questions whether it is possible for women in society to combine a successful career with a thriving family life. This play is studied in many schools as one of the prescribed texts for the English Literature and Drama A’ level examinations.
Directed by Peter Woodward