Termpaper on top girls by caryl churchill
Top Girls was first staged in 1982 at the Royal Court Theatre, in London. However, ideas for the play began in the late 1970s, as states Amelia Howe Kritzer in her book ‘The Plays of Caryl Churchill’:
In the mid 1970s, [Caryl Churchill] developed an integrated socialist-feminist political analysis which has become increasingly explicit and consistent […] Churchill’s originality as a dramatist is matched by an unusual ability to perceive and analyse the basic patterns that maintain an oppressive social order. (1)
This ability blossoms in Top Girls in which she acutely analyses the patriarchal society of the 1980s and sharply criticizes the way feminism evolved within it.
Caryl Churchill has described the genesis of the play as following:
[…] I had been to America…and had been talking to women there who were saying things were going very well: they were getting far more women executives, women vice-presidents and so on […] I wanted it [Top Girls ] to set off, with all those historical women celebrating Marlene’s achievement, to look as if it were going to be a celebration of women achieving things, and then put the other perspectives on it, to show that just to achieve the same things that men had achieved in capitalist society would not be a good object. (Naismith, Top Girls, com. 23)
The during-after-before plot movement increases the dramatic impact of those other perspectives put on Marlene’s promotion in the first act. It allows the author to start her play with a grandiose opening and then let the audience see how much this spectacular first painting is actually wrinkled and how women have failed in their fight against patriarchy. This, I would like to analyse. Starting with the play’s depiction of the patriarchal society, I will then unfold on the failures made by women: their erroneous belief that taking the attributes of men would free them, their subscribing to capitalism, their lack of consciousness as a group and what future