Top Girls: Methuen Student Editions [Methuen Student Edition]

  • Caryl Churchill, Commentary and Notes by Glenda Leeming and Nick Worrall
  • Paperback
  • Bloomsbury
  • 18/07/2008
  • ISBN: 9781408106037

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Marlene hosts a dinner part in a London restaurant to celebrate her promotion to managing director of ‘Top Girls’ employment agency. Her guests are five women from the past- Isabella Bird (1831- 1904), the adventurous traveller; Lady Nijo (b1258), the mediaeval Japanese courtesan who became a Buddhist nun and travelled on foot through Japan; Dull Gret, who as Dulle Griet in a Bruegel painting, led a crowd of women on a charge through hell; Pope Joan, the transvestite early female pope and last but not least Patient Griselda, and obedient wife out of Chaucer. As the evening continues we are involved with the stories of all five women and the more pressing dilemmas of Marlene herself. A classic of contemporary theatre, Churchill’s play is seen as a benchmark for ushering a new generation of playwrights after it was premiered by the Royal Court in 1982. Top Girls has a combination of directness and complexity which keeps you both emotionally and intellectually alert. You can smell life, and at the same time feel locked in an argument with an agile and passionate mind. (John Peter, Sunday Times) This volume contains a chronology of the playwright’s life and work; an introduction giving the background to the play; a discussion of the various interpretations, notes on individual words and phrases and photographs from stage productions.

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