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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Theatre and Dance

TOP GIRLS at the Center for Performance Experiment

Friday, October 27, 2017 - 8:00pm

The UofSC Department of Theatre and Dance

Top Girls

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lindsay Rae Taylor

October 26 - November 4, 2017

Center for Performance Experiment
718 Devine St.

Show Times: 
October 26-29: 8pm
October 31-November 4: 8pm

A talkback, hosted by the Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) will be held after the show on November 3.

$10, available only at the door.
Arrive early as seating is limited.

Set in the business world of the 1980s, this feminist masterpiece by esteemed British playwright Caryl Churchill is a witty and thought-provoking look at the sacrifices women make to achieve success in a male-dominated society.  Churchill begins her inventive script with a surreal dinner party in which a young businesswoman, Marlene, celebrates her recent work promotion with a group of barrier-breaking females from across the ages.  Once the party ends, however, we’re witness to the devastating personal cost of Marlene’s ascension up the corporate ladder, both to her family and herself. 

“A blistering yet sympathetic look at women who achieve success by adopting the worst traits of self-made men… Truly original.”
— The New York Times

Director Lindsay Rae Taylor, a second-year MFA Directing candidate, says that despite the play’s 1980s backdrop, its exploration of sexism and socio-economic division asks questions that are still relevant today.

“With this play, Churchill asks audiences to define feminism for themselves,” Taylor says.  “What is it, and what are the sacrifices women are forced to make in trying to find a place in a typically male world?  And, on the flip side of that, what about the women who aren’t allowed the luxury of moving forward with their careers — who stay at home — what does that mean for them?  Who are the casualties of feminism, and how has feminism had a negative impact on some women in society?” 

While Churchill’s work is known for challenging social norms, the director says the audience shouldn’t expect to be “preached” to, or to even leave with a sense of resolution.  “What I’m drawn to with this piece is that Churchill is able to approach it in a very objective way,” Taylor says.  “The show doesn’t tell you, ‘This is the way it is.’  You’ll feel that you’re in one of two camps when you leave, or you might be split between the two.”

Cast in the production are graduate acting students Kimberly Braun (as Marlene) and Libby Hawkins, and undergraduate students Amelia Bruce, Amber Coulter, Liv Matthews, Kelsey McCloskey, and Cassidy Spencer.  Designers for the production are MFA Design students Carly Sober (scenic), Tyler Omundsen (lighting) and Anna Ison (costume), and undergraduate student Charlotte Zuraw (sound). 

“We’re having a great time exploring the complexities of these women, as well as the dark side of what it is to be female in a man’s world,” says Taylor. “But there’s a human level to the play, too.  It’s focused on women, but this story speaks to humanity as a whole, asking a lot of questions of what we did to get where we are.”

For more information on Top Girls or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at