I've been directing for longer than many of my Top Girls actresses have been alive (a fact that is somewhat distressing in and of itself), but I have never before encountered a play that raises more questions than it answers. And, truth be told, Caryl Churchill really doesn't seem interested in answering any of the questions she raises in Top Girls, leaving them instead, up to her audiences to decide.
Of course, art is subjective and should inspire conversation and debate. The human condition may well be constant, but its motives, inspirations and afflictions are myriad. And therein lies the conundrum of Top Girls. Caryl Churchill may well leave the questions up to the audience to decide, but a director and cast must answer at least some of them to create a cohesive and meaningful production.
Pressed by my producer to come up with a Director's Note for this production's program in time to go to press, I found myself (for once), at sea. Regular readers know that Uncle P is rarely one at a lack for words when it comes to expressing my opinions. But my opinions on this particular play are so diverse, it was nigh on impossible to come up with only one page's worth of discussion. In the end, I decided to focus on Churchill's attention on the need for social responsibility and how those that are 'Top Girls' need to be aware of, and nurture those who are not.
Art is one of the few things that connects humans to one another. For all our differences, be they religious; political; sexual or ideological, we all share the need to be productive members of the society in which we live. How we arrive at achieving that goal may vary, but it is ultimately our artistic expressions that connect us to one another.
Of course, all this may very well be idealistic bullshit, in which case I should stop directing and just become a mindless sheep... or not.
Wow! This entire post now seems little more to me an exercise in semantic masturbation, than anything worth really saying. I wouldn't blame any of you if never read another word I wrote...
To make up for it, here's some gratutious violence:
While that was truly awful, I somehow feel so much better.