The Segal Theatre is closing its season, but until May 18 there’s one more show that you will not want to miss.
Top Girls is a pivotal work of the contemporary theatre canon, hailed as “the best British play ever by a woman dramatist” by The Guardian’s Michael Billington.
Top Girls, Caryl Churchill’s influential British play, directed by Micheline Chevrier, features an all-female cast led by Laura Condlln and Leni Parker.
The performance combines a virtuosic, time-bending plot with exhilarating dialogue and inventive theatricality.
It’s a tableau of women across the ages, a daring and darkly humorous portrait of women and success set against the backdrop of Thatcher’s England in the 80s.
“When I first programmed it a year ago, part of it was that we had just done Glengarry Glen Ross. So I thought it made a pretty interesting parallel with the two shows back to back. It’s such a no-brainer: two brilliantly written plays, one looking at seven men, the other one looking at seven women. It was a good move to put them back to back,” said Segal Centre director Paul Flicker.
Audiences can expect striking set and costume design, daringly exploiting the theatre’s unique architecture. Laura Condlln stars as the ruthless career woman Marlene, alongside Montreal favourite Leni Parker as 13th-century courtesan Lady Nijo. The top-notch cast of actors, including Lauryn Allman, Lucinda Davis, Elana Dunkelman, France Rolland and Julie Tamiko Manning, will transform themselves into sixteen characters, ranging from the 1200s to the fabulous 1980s.
Love, family, your life. What would YOU sacrifice to get to the top? Marlene has been promoted to the top of a London employment agency, and she’s celebrating. On the guest list of her fantastic dinner party: the intrepid Victorian adventuress Isabella Bird, a Japanese emperor’s mistress, Pope Joan and a Flemish avenger born from a Brueghel painting. As the champagne flows, the laughter grows and the historical and fictional women toast Marlene’s success. But it soon becomes clear that being on top comes with a price.
“It’s a critique of British vs. American feminism. Whereas we always thought in America that the goal is to raise the level of the individual woman, in England, British feminism was more of a movement to raise the status of women as a whole. So it’s a look, an examination, of that,” concludes Flicker.
Top Girls plays at the Segal Centre Theatre until May 18.