Top Girls – Caryl Churchil, review

The play is divided into three acts of which the second consists of the three different scenes. The whole play could be summarized into

Plot:

  1. Older women about fifty, met in the restaurant and talk on different subjects regarding women’s subordination to men. They retell their recollections from the past life and what they had survived. All of them were invited by Marlene who was promoted to position of managing director of employment agency.
  2. Marlene in employment agency shows to Jeanine, what successful woman must undergone if she wants better job. (no kids, strong believe they will want her in the position).
  3. Angie plays with Kit and talks about her secret to escape to London to her aunt Marlene and her decision to kill her “mother” Joyce with a brick, who is just searching her
  4. Win and Nell talk about flowers and about Marlene how she took job of managing director to Howard
  5. Angie arrives to Top Girls, Marlene is nervous when she learns Angie wants to stay longer in London and work for Top Girls.
  6. Win explains how men don’t like women better in their jobs, Howard had heart attack
  7. Flashback – Marlene was invited by Angie secretly and she brings presents
  8. Joyce and Marlene argues about the past – Marlene gave up her child in 17 and left house in order to do her career now she is sorry and wants Angie back
  9. Joyce is against it, she took the child quickly, cannot have own children. Talk about mother and dad. Travelling in America
  10. Marlene hates working class, and life on the village that is the reason why she escaped. Mistake was that she didn’t take her child.

 

 

Conflict: Woman versus society, breaking traditional belief that woman cannot do man’s job, or career. The problem is that woman must suppress herself and her own personal life to achieve something in her life. Sometimes it means surrender something of extremely high value such as own child, as it happened in the case of Marlene and in her real life not in the dreams from the past.

 

Point of attack: begins in act two when Angie escaped to London to visit aunt Marlene and was finished by revealing that Marlene is her own biological mother. Angie simply took after her mother, she couldn’t bear life in the village, so she escaped to the town to her own mother without knowing the truth.

 

Characters:

Marlene – she was promoted to managing director of employment agency “Top Girls”. In Top Girls she is a boss and she shows it, she is late and doesn’t have a time. Marlene got pregnant in 17, gave up her own child and left to America due to career.

Joyce – Marlene’s sister, in reality aunt of Angie but Angie thinks Joyce is her mum

Angie – 16 years old, Marlene’s daughter, but she thinks, she is Joyce’s daughter because she brings her up, she is arguing with her and unsatisfied with life in the small town, wants to go to London

Kit – 12 years old a friend of Angie

Lady Nijo – retells stories how she suffered in Japan as the wife of Emperor

Pope Joan – retells story how clever women could not be educated and could not work in man’s positions - pope

Griselda – retells story how she could not bring up her children because she was from low society and her husband was prince

Jeanine – applicant for the job in Top Girls

Win – likes flowers – works in Top Girls

Nell – doesn’t like flowers – works in Top girls

Louisa – fed up with her position in the company

Mrs. Kidd – wife of Howard – came after Marlene to persuade her to give up her job because it would destroy Howard’s pride to work under woman

 

Thought: Main idea lives in huge difference between men and women and the outlook on their career. Joyce presents typical woman sitting at home that men loves. On the other hand Marlene is shark, feminist, who wants the same rights and opportunities – speech to Howard’s wife.

 

Diction: middle, neutral but sometimes, very informal, especially in the final act where some invectives were used.

 

Music: probably sad, heavy, plot is complicated

 

Spectacle: actors should be dressed in suits, no dance

 

Own interpretation: The play reveals problem of the society, how is unprepared for acceptance of women in leading position in their jobs. The play also shows difficult struggle how can woman achieve some success. The success can only be achieved if they get rid of something worthy and tell nothing about it. In the case of Marlene she abandoned her own child and didn’t tell anybody either to her friends from the first act when they were asking her if she has any children. So the play reveals the important fact that the will to achieve success of any women touches two problematic areas: men generally and the family background. Success simply needs no kids and strong believe in the want of the position.

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