Dec 7, 2018

Top Girls

Author: Caryl Churchill

Genre: Modern Drama

Published in: January 1, 1982

Themes: Feminism, and Marxism. 

Review: A play that every feminist, and/or socialist must read. 

Caryl Churchill through 'Top Girls' cleverly brings forth the pseudo-feminism prevalent under the patriarchal capitalist system. The book's first scene that has been criticized for it's irrelevance to what follows, performs as a quick recapitulation for the readers of the oppressive history of women — which serves as a touchstone of feminine values, and when juxtaposed with the values of the modern day woman, unveils the ugly truth of being a feminist under the capitalist system.

This is perhaps the only play that has no active male characters in it. Churchill did not feel the need to have them, because many of the women in the play shed their femininity to survive in the corrupt and oppressive world.

I feel that the play would seem plain and simple — except for the apparent complexity of the overlapping dialogues that initially seem intimidating, but gradually the readers acquaint themselves to the technique — and nothing out of the ordinary if it's read superficially. In fact, it may even seem bland, because of the unconventional structure, dissimilar to the patriarchal tradition of five stages in a plot; therefore, it has no rising action, no climax, and no proper conclusion; if any, it has been summed up in one word "frightening". However, I still believe that if one reads between the lines, there's much to take away from this play.

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