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Top Girls Paperback – September 1, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0573630231 ISBN-10: 0573630232 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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. (Sunday Times)

Ms. Churchill is one of the best writers...her play is brilliantly conceived with considerable wit to illuminate the underlying deep human seriousness of her theme. (Spectator)

A dramatist who must surely be rated among the half-dozen best now writing a playwright of genuine audacity and assurance, able to use her considerable wit and intelligence in ways at once unusual, resonant and dramatically riveting. (New Statesman) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Caryl Churchill is a major contemporary British dramatist and features prominently in numerous books on modern "Feminist" or "Political" theatre, but she is careful not to be pinned down to any limiting definitions. The variety of her subject matter, the constant experiment with form and her challenge to conventional role models defy attempts to restrict the scope of her drama.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.; First Edition edition (September 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0573630232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0573630231
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Caryl Churchill's 'Top Girls'is a play about women who have defined their roles in life according to their individual perception of womanhood. As the play opens and we see women from ages past sit around celebrating Marlene's promotion, this anomaly is lost in the dynamism of the conversation. Are these women really successful? Has Marlene really risen to become a 'top girl'? These questions are debated in the following scenes where the reader meets various women who have pursued their profession at the expense of a personal life. Marlene is no exception, as she has given up a daughter to drive across the USA and live in the 'fast lane' while her sister cared for the child. Unlike Marlene, she has given up options in life to take care of her sister's daughter and maintains the family bonds by visiting her aged mother. Marlene, however, is still the favored one by both daughter and mother; has she earned this praise?
This is not only about women and feminism. It is about labour and class, about sacrifice, and most of all, about human imperfections. I enjoyed not just reading the play, but the stimulating debates that arise out of discussions inspired by the text. It is not a traightforward contrast between right and wrong, old and modern, feminine and masculine but it examines the gray areas in between which take into account human fallacies and individual priorities.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Pamela B. on April 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read Top Girls in my dramatic literature class in college. Reading the play can be very helpful if you plan to attend a performance. Characters are constantly interrupting each other mid-sentence and an audience can miss much of the dialouge. The concept for the play is wonderful. It examines women's lives throughout history- from Joan of Arc to women in a temp agency- all sitting down to dinner. The dialogue is exceptional and the each woman's story can fill a play in itself. However, this is definately a play you will want to see acted on stage. It's also a fun play to read/ act out loud with girlfriends because it raises many issues which concern contemporary women.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pamela B. on April 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read Top Girls in my dramatic literature class in college. Reading the play can be very helpful if you plan to attend a performance. Characters are constantly interrupting each other mid-sentence and an audience can miss much of the dialouge. The concept for the play is wonderful. It examines women's lives throughout history- from Joan of Arc to women in a temp agency- all sitting down to dinner. The dialogue is exceptional and the each woman's story can fill a play in itself. However, this is definately a play you will want to see acted on stage. It's also a fun play to read/ act out loud with girlfriends because it raises many issues which concern contemporary women.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on August 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Caryl Churchill, Top Girls (Methuen, 1982)

I almost stopped reading this play altogether at the conclusion of the first scene. I ended up glad I continued on, but really, there would have been so many better ways to handle that first scene. Putting it somewhere else in the play, for example.

Top Girls concerns Marlene, a woman just promoted to the head of her branch office of the Top Girls temp agency. She was promoted over a man, and in celebration, she imagines for herself a lavish dinner party, the guests for which are a number of notable historic women. This is understandable, and having other players in the play playing guests whose personalities are mirrored in their other roles is clever. But, really, the scene takes up an entire quarter of the play's length, and the information you get in the scene that's actually relevant to the plot is summed up in the first sentence of this paragraph. (You don't find out about the second sentence until later.) There's a lot more going on in the play's remaining four scenes, much of which is quite important, but it's shuffled off for this massive dinner party.

Once we get back into the real world, though, things get quite a bit more interesting. Marlene's niece Angie wants to run away from home and come live with Marlene, whom she sees as a great success, while Angie's mother, Joyce, is content to stay in the country eking out an existence and griping about everything possible. Angie's odd friend Kit is always hovering about in the background, being ominous. At Top Girls, life goes on, with the employees gossiping and interviewing potential workers.

The play's final four scenes are very good stuff, with all sorts of insight into their characters and action that flows through the talkiness.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Caryl Churchill's 'Top Girls'is a play about women who have defined their roles in life according to their individual perception of womanhood. As the play opens and we see women from ages past sit around celebrating Marlene's promotion, this anomaly is lost in the dynamism of the conversation. Are these women really successful? Has Marlene really risen to become a 'top girl'? These questions are debated in the following scenes where the reader meets various women who have pursued their profession at the expense of a personal life. Marlene is no exception, as she has given up a daughter to drive across the USA and live in the 'fast lane' while her sister cared for the child. Unlike Marlene, she has given up options in life to take care of her sister's daughter and maintains the family bonds by visiting her aged mother. Marlene, however, is still the favored one by both daughter and mother; has she earned this praise?
This is not only about women and feminism. It is about labour and class, about sacrifice, and most of all, about human imperfections. I enjoyed not just reading the play, but the stimulating debates that arise out of discussions inspired by the text. It is not a traightforward contrast between right and wrong, old and modern, feminine and masculine but it examines the gray areas in between which take into account human fallacies and individual priorities.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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