Hewitt News

Photo Gallery: Top Girls
Hewitt News

Brava to the cast and crew of this year’s upper school fall play, Top Girls! Written by Caryl Churchill, this contemporary drama is set in 1980s London amidst the changing social and political landscape that followed the election of London’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Top Girls opens with Marlene, the head of a London employment agency, celebrating her recent promotion over dinner with several historic female figures. Each dinner guest shares their own experiences of sacrifice and ambition, and commonalities emerge across the different centuries in which each character lived. Over the course of Top Girls, audiences learn about Marlene’s sacrifices, what it took for her to rise in her career, and her strained relationship with her family. 

As part of their rehearsal process for the show, Hewitt actors engaged in character exploration and historical research to explore the play’s themes of patriarchy, motherhood, sacrifice, class, and what it takes to be a successful woman in a world that seems fit only for men. Meanwhile, upper school students prepared to watch Top Girls by studying the play in their English classes, examining the text from both a historical and societal perspective. Through lessons created by English Teacher Miriam Walden, students made connections between the play and the societal expectations they themselves experience today. 

Director Colleen Britt shared that the idea to mount Top Girls came from Hewitt students themselves. In May of 2022, two members of the Class of 2022 followed a proposal process —  including researching the historical significance of the work, connecting the play to Hewitt’s mission and community, and presenting the proposal to a panel of teachers and administrators — to suggest Top Girls for the upper school fall play. Their proposal states, “As a part of our research and decision making process, we surveyed upper school students to see what they have related to in the past as well as what they hope to see in the future. Some themes students wanted to see more of were gender, socioeconomic status, and friendships/relationships, all of which are covered in Top Girls.” The students ultimately felt that the show would give Hewitt’s actors and students a compelling opportunity to explore the very themes they had expressed interest in learning more about.  

The tenth grade actor who played the role of Marlene shared her experience portraying this complex character and what she hopes the audience took away from the performance as a whole.

“Ms. Britt helped us dive into our characters - we did a lot of research and really got to learn about their lives. Although Marlene is a fictional character, I thought she had so many layers that I wanted to share with the audience. As a cast, we wanted to show how the themes in Top Girls — motherhood, class struggles, trying to succeed in a man’s world — have been relevant ever since the play was written. The show is timeless.”

To hear more student experiences from Top Girls, visit us on Instagram.

full cast and crew of upper school fall play Top Girls in costume, standing in two rows with a blue background
4 cast members of Top Girls at a dinner table, looking at a menu
cast of Top Girls standing at a table with a white table cloth, holding wine glasses, toasting
cast members of Top Girls sitting at a table with a white table cloth, one woman standing pouring wine into a wine glass
two cast members of the play sitting under a cardboard fort
three cast members of Top Girls on stage: one wearing pink, one wearing a brown sweater, and one searing blue overalls
two cast members of Top Girls, one wears a white blouse and maroon skirt, and the other wears a blue blouse and blue skirt
three cast members of top girls, two sitting at office desks, and one standing
two cast members of Top Girls, both sitting in chairs facing one another
two members of Top Girls, one in blue, the other in a white blouse and green skirt, both facing each other sitting in chairs
two members of Top Girls, one sitting at an office desk with her legs crossed, one standing looking down at the desk
two members of Top Girls, one standing with a backpack wearing a yellow jacket, one sitting at an office desk
two members of Top Girls in the foreground, seated in chairs facing one another, one in the background looking down
two members of Top Girls sitting in chairs facing one another, one wearing yellow and black, the other in blue
three members of Top Girls, two standing around a kitchen table, one seated at the table
three members of Top Girls standing around a kitchen table. two on the right are hugging, one stands to the left
three members of Top Girls all seated around a kitchen table with a kettle of tea in the middle
three members of Top Girls, two seated at a kitchen table holding mugs, one standing in the middle, pouring a drink