Caryl Churchill: Top Girls

(3330 words)
  • Bonnie Melchior

In an interview early in her career, Caryl Churchill stated that “playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions,” and indeed her widely anthologized play Top Girls is neither didactic nor doctrinaire. It is sometimes called an example of “materialist feminism,” but varied critical responses testify to the fact that the play follows no “party line.” Critic Jane Thomas, for instance, says her plays are not “political stratagems for change in fields of class and gender,” but are rather “politically provocative critiques of society.”

The play opened at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 soon after Churchill’s extremely successful Cloud Nine. It got mixed …

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Melchior, Bonnie. "Top Girls". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 September 2004
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]