Monday, September 10, 2018

3 October - Top Girls

Top Girls is a 1982 play by Caryl Churchill. It is about a woman named Marlene, a career-driven woman who is only interested in women's success in business. In the famous opening scene, she hosts a dinner party for a group of famous women from history. As the play unfolds we find Marlene has left her 'poor' life, and illegitimate child with her sister Joyce, in order to tread the path to 'success'. The play is contemporary and examines the role of women in society and what being a successful woman means. The plays cast involves women from age ranges 17 - 23, so we shall be feeling very young by the end of the afternoon!!


Isabella Bird is the first dinner guest to arrive at Marlene's celebration. In real life as discussed throughout the first act of the play, Isabella is a world traveler. What the play does not mention is that she wrote several books, including An English Woman In AmericaA Lady's Life In The Rocky Mountains, and Among the Tibetans. Her adventures take her to all corners of the world. She mentions Jimin Nugent at the party, a man with whom she spent quite a bit of time in America. Outside of the play, Jim was in love with Isabella but she never paid attention to his advances. In real life, she once wrote in a letter to her sister "He is a man any woman might love, but no sane woman would marry." Jim would later be found murdered. Isabella did not marry young because of her career, but later married Dr. John Bishop, who died two days before their 5th anniversary. 
Lady Nijo is a thirteenth-century Japanese concubine and the most materialistic of the women: she is influenced more by the period of time before she became a wandering nun than by the time she spends as a holy woman. She has been brought up in such a way that she cannot even recognize her own prostitution. .
Pope Joan  is somewhat aloof, making relevant, intellectual declarations throughout the conversation. When the topic turns to religion, she cannot help but point out heresies—herself included—though she does not attempt to convert the others to her religion. According to popular legend, Pope Joan was a woman who reigned as pope for a few years during the Middle Ages. Her story first appeared in chronicles in the 13th century and subsequently spread throughout Europe. The story was widely believed for centuries, but most modern scholars regard it as fictional.
Dull Gret The subject of the painting "Dulle Griet" by Pieter Breughel, in which a woman wearing an apron and armed with tools of male aggression – armor, helmet, and sword – leads a mob of peasant women into Hell, fighting the devils and filling her basket with gold cups. 
Patient Griselda is the last to show up to the party.   Historically, Griselda first came into prominence when Chaucer adapted her (from earlier texts by Boccaccio) for a story in The Canterbury Tales called "The Clerk's Tale." In Chaucer's tale, and also in Top Girls, Griselda is chosen to be the wife of the Marquis, even though she is only a poor peasant girl. 

Caryl Churchill (3/9/1938 - )

Caryl Churchill is a British playwright known for dramatising the abuses of power, for her use of non-naturalistic techniques, and for her exploration of sexual politics and feminist themes.

No comments:

Post a Comment