Set in early 1980s Britain when Margaret Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter, had just become the first woman prime minister of the UK, Top Girls is a play examining the role of women in society and what it means to be a successful woman across ages and generations. The play famously begins with a dreamlike sequence when a career-driven woman hosts a dinner party to celebrate her promotion to director of the Top Girls employment agency. Her guests are five women from the past: Isabella Bird (1831–1904), the adventurous traveler; Lady Nijo (born 1258), the medieval courtesan who became a Buddhist nun and traveled on foot through Japan; Dull Gret, who, in a Bruegel painting, as Dulle Griet, led a crowd of women on a charge through hell; Pope Joan, the transvestite early female pope; and Patient Griselda, an obedient wife out of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. A blistering yet sympathetic look at women and success, Top Girls is a classic of contemporary theatre and a landmark for a new generation of playwrights.
Organized by the USC School of Dramatic Arts.
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