‘Top Girls’ Plays Out Lives of Famous Women in History

Photo by Alex Baran

This weekend, the second student production of the semester premiered in the Sharp Theater – the 1982 British play “Top Girls” by Caryl Churchill, directed by David Gordon.

The play revolves around Marlene, a progressive, successful woman of the 1980s, who is celebrating a promotion at work. The play opens with Marlene hosting a dinner party for famous women from history and literature. The seven actresses in this scene make up the entire cast for the rest of the production.

“Even though the plot may be jarring at times, it was still worth the ride for the cast’s finesse,” student Eric Lapp commented.

With the exception of Raechel Sontag, who played Marlene, every other cast member had at least two roles. Liz Gonzalez, Erin DuBee, Erin Hernon, Jenna O’Brien, Julie Roccanova and Carly Nelson all play at least two characters in the show. Characteristics from each respective role they played bled into the others, giving the play a complex plot.

“I had some trouble following the story, but I still enjoyed it,” said student Andrew Wild.

Christopher Scott, another student who watched the play, found that the play lacked consistency and focus.

“I enjoyed it, but I felt as if the whole show wasn’t very concise, and the director couldn’t get across what his vision of the show was,” said Scott. “The music that they had playing in the background felt like it wasn’t on purpose.”

Director David Gordon and costume designer Beba Shamash held a dialogue with students about what went into making the play. At the seminar, the set, lighting, costumes and props were specifically discussed, as well as ideas that did not make it into the final production.

Gordon discussed attitudes, accents and actions that he had originally put into his interpretation of the play, why those ideas were not kept and how they influenced the final product.

Shamash touched on the costuming and set design of the play. There was a focus on how the first scene played into the rest of the work as a whole, in terms of design. Pieces of costumes and props were used in unexpected ways throughout the show. Shamash explained to the students how reusing design elements kept the show visually interesting.

The final dress rehearsal and opening night were packed with people eager to see the results of the theater program’s hard work.