The restaurant scene in Top Girls (TG) revolves around Marlene
celebrating her promotion at work, it is purely female gendered,
having no male actors present throughout the whole play. The
significance of the five guests she has chosen to celebrate with
promotes the hard work and sacrifices she has made in order to get
where she is. This scene uses women of the past, to highlight
struggles of women through the ages, encompassing the theme of women’s
experiences and women at work, with motherhood being an important
factor for most of them. They have all had to fight one way or
another, in order to succeed in their lives. The focus is on Marlene
as the central character, not only because she is the hostess and it
is essentially her celebration, but because she connects with the
other women and encourages them to carry on with their stories.
Although these characters are created by the author, their stories are
very real and are used to portray the kind of person Marlene is, in
fighting for what she wants in the contemporary male dominated world
of business. The five women all have horrific stories to tell of
hardship and oppression, caused by male dominance. Isabella Bird
‘tried to please her father by conforming to the ‘role’ of clergyman’s
daughter’. Even when she was ill she fought for what she wanted and
eventually travelled and was the ‘first European woman ever to see the
Emperor’ in Morocco. (p.viii TG). Lady Nijo, at the age of 14 endured
rape and domination by the Emperor, but put up with it, as ‘it was
what she had been brought up for’. But when no longer in his favour,
she became a nun and ‘travelled the country on foot – she walked every
day for twenty years’ (p....
... middle of paper ...
...Whereas the actual scene is
more of a surreal, private dinner party, merely acting out events of
the past, without having any effect on contemporary lifestyles. So
although it does have a relationship to the rest of the play, it is
only so much as the subject matter, it comes across as quite a
separate entity in practical terms. The rest of the play however, is
real life, those situations do present themselves and we do have those
problems to deal with.
- GOODMAN, Lizbeth, Ed. Literature and Gender (London: Routledge in
association with The Open University, 1996).
- CHURCHILL, Caryl. Top Girls (London: Methuen, 1991).
- VC1: A210 Approaching Literature: A Doll’s House.
- VC 2: A210 Approaching Literature: Top Girls.
- Audio Cassette 4: A Doll’s House AC 2123
- Audio Cassette 5: A Doll’s House AC 2124
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