In British playwright Caryl Churchill’s Thatcher-era tour de force, Marlene (played in this Sydney Theatre Company production by Helen Thomson), the managing director of an employment agency, throws a dinner party.
Her guest are her feminist heroines from history and fiction: Isabella Bird, the doughty Victorian adventurer; Dull Gret, the hell-charging star of a Breughel painting; Lady Nijo, the 13th-century Japanese concubine and nun; the harshly tested Griselda, whose trials were described by Chaucer, and the transvestite – and quite possibly apocryphal – Pope Joan.
According to Thomson, the issues raised in Top Girls are as relevant now as they were in the 80’s. “What’s so interesting is the next wave of women in today’s workforce are realising the pay gap is still there and the glass ceiling still exists. So women are seeing that we have to work together to help each other – through movements like Lean In and #MeToo. It’s all along the same trajectory and part of the ongoing discussion of the women’s movement.”
Imara Savage directs and Paula Arundell, Kate Box, Michelle Lim Davidson, Claire Lovering, Heather Mitchell, Helen Thomson and Contessa Treffone complete the cast.