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Top Girls by
Call Number: Print Books (PR6053.H786 T6 1984 )
Publication Date: 1988-06-29
The dialectic of Top Girls is wide-ranging, covering universal dilemmas facing women, but focuses on major themes of contemporary life. The critique of feminist ambitions is a clear central theme and Churchill's selection of women from the past and modern world shows sympathy for the feminist cause and disdain for the male oppressor, but there is no sentimentality an no comfortable solution is offered for their problems. Marlene hosts a dinner party 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 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, an obedient wife out of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. As the evening continues we are involved with the stories of all five women and the impending crisis in Marlene's own life. A classic of contemporary theatre, Churchill's play is seen as a landmark for a new generation of playwrights. It was premiered by the Royal Court in 1982.
Caryl Churchill's Top Girls by
Call Number: eBook
Publication Date: 2008-05-13
Top Girls is one of Churchill's most well known and often studied works, using an all female cast to critique bourgeois feminism during the Thatcher era. Includes chapters on production history, context, and analysis.
Caryl Churchill by
Call Number: Print Books (PR6053.H786 Z78 2015 )
Publication Date: 2014-12-18
This new critical introduction to Churchill examines her political agendas, her collaborations with other practitioners, and looks at specific production histories of her plays. Churchill's work continues to have profound resonances with her audiences and this book explores her preoccupation with representing such phenomena as capitalism, genocide, environmental issues, identity, psychiatry and mental illness, parenting, violence and terrorism. It includes new interviews with actors and directors of her work, and gathers together source material from her wide-ranging career.
Includes a chapter on Thatcherism, the new right wing, and the 1980s.
About the Author
Hemming, Sarah. "Profile: Caryl Churchill." FT.Com (Apr 10, 2015).
Kay, Jackie. "Interview with Caryl Churchill." New Statesman & Society 2, no. 46 (Apr 21, 1989): 41.
The Theatre of Caryl Churchill by
Call Number: Print Books (PR6053.H786 Z663 2014 )
Publication Date: 2014-11-20
The Theatre of Caryl Churchill documents and analyses the major plays and productions of one of Britain's greatest and most innovative playwrights. Drawing on hundreds of never-before-seen archival sources from the US and the UK, it provides an essential guide to Churchill's groundbreaking work for students and theatregoers. The Theatre of Caryl Churchill tells a story about the playwright, her work, and its place in contemporary drama.
Resources for Context
Not sure where to look? Each of these online collections will introduce you to a wealth of dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Topic areas related to the play:
- Feminism, Sex Roles, Sexism
- Margaret Thatcher / Thatcherism
- Gender and politics
- 1980s Britain
- Class conflict
See the following articles:
Wealth and Inequality
Women and Work
Gender Pay Gap
Future of Feminism
American Decades Primary Sources (2000-2009)
Includes oral histories, songs, speeches, advertisements, TV, play and movie scripts, letters, laws, legal decisions, newspaper articles, cartoons, recipes, and more.
Use the drop down menu for table of contents and select 1980-1989
SAGE Reference Online
Selection of subject encyclopedias published by Sage; especially strong in the social sciences.
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Third Wave Feminism
The Thatcher Decade by
Call Number: Print Books (DA589.7 .R53 1989)
Publication Date: 1990-01-01
The Cambridge Companion to Caryl Churchill by
Call Number: Print Books (PR6053.H786 Z65 2009 )
Publication Date: 2009-12-10
. Chapters explore a cluster of major plays in relation to pressing social topics: ecological crisis, sexual politics, revolution, terror and selfhood; providing close readings of texts in their theatrical, theoretical and historical contexts. These topic-based essays are intercalated with other essays that delve into Churchill's major collaborations, her performance innovations and her influences on a new generation of playwrights.
Production History: Selected Reviews
London Times Digital Archive
1982, Royal Court
1991, Royal Court
2000, New Vic
Los Angeles Times
2014, Antaeus Company
Regional Business News
2008, Biltmore Theatre
2013, New Theatre
2015, Ashby Stage
2015, Shaw Fest
More Databases for Production History
Put the play title and author in quotes, e.g., "top girls" and "Caryl Churchill"
New York Times (nytimes.com)
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Research Library features the full text of a diversified mix of scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines and newspapers covering all academic subject areas.