About the plays and characters of “Top Girls” and “An Inspector Calls”
For the early Spring 2019 FEST production we are considering one of the two plays below. In order for you to gain a better view of the plays, we would like to provide information on their plot and characters.
The play is famous for its dreamlike opening sequence in which Marlene, celebrating her recent promotion, meets famous women from history and art, including Pope Joan who, disguised as a man, is said to have been pope between 854 and 856; the Victorian explorer Isabella Bird; Dull Gret the harrower of Hell in a Bruegel painting; Lady Nijo, the Japanese mistress of an emperor and later a Buddhist nun; and Patient Griselda, the wife from The Clerk’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. There is a great deal of (specified) food to be eaten.
Act 2 is made up of a series of short scenes in the “Top Girls” employment agency in London and in the countryside where Joyce (Marlene’s sister) still lives with her daughter Angie.
Act 3 is a major 2-hander between Marlene and Joyce, where time goes backwards and family (and other) secrets are revealed.
Caryl Churchill, writing during the Margaret Thatcher years, explores what women have to sacrifice in order to ‘take on’ men in the work-place and in the home.
16 characters played by 7 women – all ages and types:
ISABELLA BIRD, MRS KYDD, JOYCE
POPE JOAN, LOUISE
DULL GRET, ANGIE
LADY NIJO, NELL
PATIENT GRISELDA, WIN
WAITRESS, KIT, SHONA, JEANNINE
An Inspector Calls
The play is a three-act drama, which takes place on a single night in April 1912, focusing on the prosperous upper middle-class Birling family, who live in a comfortable home in the fictional town of Brumley, “an industrial city in the north Midlands”. The family is visited by a man calling himself Inspector Goole, who questions the family about the suicide of a young working-class woman, Eva Smith (also known as Daisy Renton).
Traditionally the play has been seen as a criticism of Victorian-Edwardian values but Priestley’s views regarding our inter-dependence and failures of a society which promote ‘getting ahead’ are thoroughly contemporary and open up the possibility of a modern-dress production.
4 men, 3 women, various ages:
SYBIL, his wife
ERIC, their son
SHEILA, their daughter
GERALD CROFT, Sheila’s fiancé
EDNA, the Birlings’ maid
Arthur/Sybil and Eric/Sheila/Gerald need to appear from different generations.
Register now for your preferred date and come to the audition by sending a mail to [email protected]. Plan to be in the audition process with other candidates for 60-90 minutes, reading with each other, etc.
More on audition dates and times