Girls On Top

Girls On Top

Release date:


Running time:

52 minutes


Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:


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Caryl Churchill's 1982 play Top Girls is a brilliantly comedic but devastating examination of the challenges working women face, both in business and society. This canon of women's theatre-with it's non-linear construction, use of overlapping dialogue and mix of fantasy and reality-is a challenging play to mount. The opening scene is a dinner party celebrating the main character's promotion, and the guests at the party are women who are either long-dead or fictional characters from literature or paintings.

Girls On Top goes behind-the-scenes with eight women in Toronto who rehearse and perform Top Girls in Soulpepper Theatre Company's 2008 award-winning production. The cast is a mix of Canadian screen and stage icons, including actors Megan Follows, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Cara Pifko, Liisa Repo-Martell, Kelli Fox, Diana Donnelly, Robyn Stevan and director Alisa Palmer.

While the play presents a bleak picture of how women are faring in contemporary life, the powerhouse cast of Top Girls seems to contradict the play's message. As they hone their performances, it's clear they are striving and succeeding, just as the characters in the play do, but they're far from isolated and individualistic. The production environment is the antithesis of the world they're exploring onstage, and as the women hone their performances, it's clear they could not be more different than the isolated, individualistic characters they portray. However, as Girls On Top reveals more about the personal lives and professional battles of these actors, it becomes clear that their passion for the project and each other is the exception that proves the rule-Churchill's worldview is perhaps more accurate than they would like to admit.

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