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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Theatre Program opens season with Top Girls By Caryl Churchill
DATE: Oct. 17
It’s 1980 in Britain and Margaret Thatcher has just been elected as the first female Prime Minister: a whole new era lies ahead! Meanwhile, Marlene has just been promoted to Managing Director of the Top Girls Employment Agency.
To celebrate, Marlene throws herself a dinner party at a swanky London restaurant. Her guests include a famous Victorian lady explorer, a medieval Japanese courtesan turned Buddhist nun, a peasant woman from a Brueghel painting, a patient wife from Chaucer and a female Pope!
When Top Girls first opened in 1982, it was this brilliant opening scene that catapulted Caryl Chruchill into the front ranks of contemporary playwriting. Far too clever a writer to be trapped into either a feminist or a socialist polemic, Churchill chose to explore the phenomenon of women’s relationships with other women in a rapidly changing social and cultural milieu.
In subsequent scenes we see Marlene interacting with a variety of women in the context of her work, both colleagues and clients, and then later with her sister and niece who have been left behind in rural poverty as Marlene has rocketed to success in the “Big City”.
More than a quarter century after it was first performed Top Girls is as relevant and as theatrically intriguing as it ever was, and has recently been revived in theatres across North America (including a star studded Broadway production last Spring). With Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin dominating the media, the question of what price must be paid to become a “Top Girl” is one that reverberates today as much as it ever did in Thatcher’s England.
The 16 female characters in Top Girls will be played by our seven “Top Girls” from this year’s fourth-year acting class – Jennifer Brown, Jennifer Furlong, Elise Jordan-Robichaud, Sarah Koehn, Johnell McClelland, Nichelle Penney and Melissa Russell, with stage management by fourth-year stagecraft student Jessica Howell.
Top Girls is directed and designed by Fine Arts Head, Ken Livingstone, with costume design by Theatre Chair, Carol Nelson and lighting design by resident designer roy Hansen-robitschek.
Top Girls plays nightly at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre from Wednesday, Oct. 29, to Saturday, Nov. 1. Tickets are available at the college bookstore or at the box office on the evening of each performance. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. For more information call 637-6223.
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Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University of Newfoundland, at
(709) 637-6200 ext. 6134.