Written in 1982, Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls was in part a response to the hard-line economic and social policies of Margaret Thatcher, where the sense of ‘community’ and ‘the common good’ was supplanted by a neo-capitalist ‘cult of the individual’.
Thirty years on, New Theatre feels it is timely to revisit Churchill’s seminal play, because in essence it remains terrifyingly topical: for women to survive and flourish in a career often demands significant personal sacrifices, but at what cost?
Marlene has scored the big promotion at work, beating a man to the position of Managing Director. It’s just reward and recognition for years of service and hard grind at the Top Girls Employment Agency. She’s escaped her working-class past. She’s finally made it!
But a difficult relationship with her older sister Joyce and the consequences of a desperate choice made 16 years’ ago open up old wounds and threaten to overshadow her success.
This bold, ingenious and highly original work is both splendidly funny and deeply moving. Now recognised as a contemporary classic, Top Girls offers one of theatre’s most startlingly honest portrayals of what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated world.
In Australia, we have witnessed our political class fighting a gender war rather than a battle of policies. We have seen a female Prime Minister subjected to vile and demeaning sexualised language and imagery – perhaps it’s time to take pause and reflect on women’s place in society and rights to live and work on equal footing with men, without fear of discrimination, bigotry or abuse.
Director: Alice Livingstone Cast: Sarah Aubrey, Claudia Barrie, Julia Billington, Ainsley McGlynn, Maeve MacGregor, Bishanyia Vincent, Cheryl Ward
Assistant Director/Dramaturg: Fiona Hallenan-Barker Set & Costume Design: Gina Rose Drew Lighting Design: Sara Swersky Sound Design: Ash Walker Makeup Design: Tahlia Tkalec Dialect Coach: Emma Louise Production Manager: Rosane McNamara Stage Manager: Jo Jewitt Assistant Stage Manager: Joan Cameron Operator: Johannes Swaton
New Theatre – 542 King Street, Newtown
Season: 9 July – 3 August 2013
Bookings: 1300 347 205 or online at: www.newtheatre.org.au
For more information, visit: www.newtheatre.org.au for details.
Image: Photo by Bob Seary