VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents Caryl Churchill’s “Top Girls,” Feb. 22-26 at the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. “Top Girls” is regarded as a unique and dynamic play exploring the challenges women encounter in the business world and society at large.
Marlene, played by Brooke Grassby of Rapid City, S.D., is throwing a party to celebrate her new promotion at a top London employment agency. Marlene’s guests are women from legend and history who offer perspectives on maternity, ambition and lovers. Some of the women are Pope Joan, played by Brianna Bernard of Mitchell, S.D., the legendary female pope who reigned for less than three years in the 850’s; Patient Griselda, a character based on Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” and played by Emily Dorsett of Sioux City, Iowa; Dull Gret, played by Lindsay Qualls of Portland, Ore., who comes from the famous painting by Flemish painter Peter Brueghel; Isabella Bird, played by Tarryn Rouse of Doniphan, Neb., the daughter of a clergyman from Yorkshire, England who embarks on a series of travels around the world; and Lady Nijo, played by Brianna Wetroksy of Brandon, S.D., who grew up in the Imperial Court of Japan and became a consort to the Emperor. These women share stories of achievements, loss and sacrifices. Their stories are followed by a leap forward in time as the action moves to Marlene’s a modern employment agency and her encounters with colleagues and clients. By warping time, Churchill reveals what Marlene sacrifices in Margaret Thatcher’s England in order to achieve success – adopting questionable traits and supporting conventions that have historically oppressed women through the ages.
“Top Girls” contains mature themes and adult language, and performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 through Feb. 25 with a 2 p.m. matinee time on Sunday, Feb. 26. Tickets ($15 Adults, $9 K-12 and non-USD students with ID, and $4 USD students with ID) can be reserved by calling the USD Theatre Box Office at (605) 677-5400 or online at www.usd.edu/theatre.