Caryl Churchill's classic play 'Top Girls' opens at the ADC Theatre next week. We spoke to the show's Director, MOLLY TAYLOR, about eighties powersuits, Instagram CEOs, and more...
What should an audience expect from Top Girls?
The audience should expect an explosion of surrealism, eighties powersuits, and powerful - but not always likeable - women. They should also expect a massive cast with massive talent to spare, as they are transported to three very different locations and see three different moments from the life of the play’s protagonist, Marlene. They will hopefully encounter questions about power, class, gender, and what it takes to be able to call oneself successful.
Top Girls is famous for being a show that had a lot to say about the feminism of Thatcher’s Britain when it debuted in 1982. What does it say to a modern audience?
Top Girls is all about highlighting a historical and intergenerational thread of female sacrifice, and still has a lot of relevant things to say about gendered success. Obvious events over the past year and a half have put pressure on how women balance their professional and home life, and highlighted the sacrifices that often have to be made in both. We also have so many glamorous images of success modelled to us: the polished Instagram CEO (think Molly-Mae launching her PLT career) is a particular current trend. There’s a reason why ‘gaslight, girlboss, gatekeep’ has become such a wryly repeated phrase - success is often an exclusive, private event, especially for women who make it through the door. Top Girls untangles the messy and unpleasant path which its protagonist takes to the top and who she steps over along the way.
How have rehearsals been coming along?
They’ve been so exciting to be in! Because Top Girls has three very different acts and (mostly) a different cast for each, it’s been amazing to see how each separate part has diverged and developed in exciting ways.
Without spoiling too much, what is your favourite part of the show?
The first act is the most well known part of the play, and sees a dinner party attended by significant women from across literature and art. It is an explosion of chaotic dialogue and is a genuine delight. My favourite part, however, is the last act, which is much quieter but much more raw, and sees us properly strip back all the characters’ pretences. It’s a real dogfight.