Top Girls

Design Statement

Top Girls, by Caryl Churchill, was, of the shows that I have worked on, perhaps the most challenging piece to approach as a Sound Designer. Churchill's writing style portrays intense messages by forcing a great deal of very human discomfort into intense and chaotic dialogue. Additionally, the play occurs in three separate worlds: The first, almost a play on its own, is the dream-like dinner that introduces the play, in which the main character, Marlene, hosts a dinner party attended by six significant female figures from history and literature, who are each known for living an extraordinary life for a woman in their time. The entire scene strongly resembles a Fugue. This was reinforced by an ambient noise beneath the scene which displaced the action slightly and amplified moments of extreme emotion when the various voices began to build up on top of one another, culminating at the end of the scene when all of the characters have escalated into a drunken and disorderly crescendo, carried to conclusion by a last monologue and toast delivered by Isabella Byrd: "Such Adventures." The noise then rises from beneath the scene, punctuating the climax with an excerpt from Margaret Thatcher:

     "Here I stand, the Iron Lady of England."

The rest of the play takes place in a realistic present, Marlene's Office, and the past, one scene in the backyard of Marlene's sister's house, and further back in time in the dining room of her house, for a final climactic argument between the sisters which explains the emotional context of the rest of the play. The discomfort and distorted realism of these scenes was counterposed by the musical score which carried transitions using pop music of the 80's featuring strong female voices, such as Madonna and the Indigo Girls.

Production Photos and Audio Content Samples Coming Soon!