Last week, we had to write down on the timeline we were given from the last playwright session of playwrights and what they wrote, one of those was Caryl Churchill. Churchill is the next playwright that we looked at, the purpose of the session was to learn more about her with the aim to look at one of her pieces: Top Girls.
Caryl Churchill was born on 3rd September 1938 and is still writing to this day, her latest pieces, ‘Escaped Alone’ was written in 2015 and first premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in January (1). Along with ‘Escaped Alone’, some other plays written by Churchill are:
- Traps (1978)
- Cloud 9 (1979)
- Serious Money (1987)
- Mad Forest (1990)
- The Skriker (1994)
- Far Away (2000)
- A Number (2002)
- Ding Dong the Wicked (2012) (2)
Many of Churchill’s plays focus on Feminism, power and sexual politics, this is shown in writings such as ‘Owners’, ‘Objections to Sex and Violence’ and ‘Top Girls’, which is the play we looked at.
Top Girls (1982), focuses on a character called Marlene, who has recently been promoted and invites 5 women out to celebrate, but these five women are all historic figures. The first scene we looked at were the characters arriving and had conversations about their lives. But for the scene we were able to rehearse and act out, we looked at act 3 between Marlene and her sister Joyce who argue about Marlene’s daughter, Angie because Joyce took Angie in.
I was paired for Josh for this scene and because it was two females, it gave a chance for Josh to play a different kind of role, just as we have done in the past with Bouncers and Shakers. However, when it came to performing it, we didn’t think through the set so even though the scene was set in a kitchen, we didn’t set it out that way. We changed the set when we started performing the scene again after we lost focus, but I still wasn’t too happy with it as my back was towards the audience. Despite that, it was great to see how different groups interpreted the characters, they were portrayed as childish, mature and stubborn in different groups and that kept it interesting to watch.