KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 9, 2001 -- Some of history's most interesting women will take center stage at the University of Rhode Island this month as the URI Theatre Department presents Top Girls, a play about the struggles and triumphs of women.
Top Girls will run from Feb. 22 to Feb. 24 and from Feb. 28 to March 3 at 8 p.m., in J Studio of URI's Fine Arts Center. Question and answer sessions will be held after the Feb. 23 and March 2 performances, and a panel discussion will be held after the March 1 performance. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students, senior citizens, and children. To reserve tickets, call the URI Theatre Box Office at 401-874-5843.
Top Girls, written by Caryl Churchill, weaves the stories of historical women, real and fictional, around the life of the main character Marlene, a modern day feminist who has climbed the corporate ladder in the 1980s. Such notables as Geoffrey Chaucer's character of Griselda, the famous Victorian world-traveler Isabella Bird, and the legendary ninth century Pope Joan are brought to life on the stage at a fantastical dinner party to celebrate a promotion Marlene has recently received.
"It's a good show to see. It will make you laugh, but it will also make you cry. It's a feeling play and it will definitely leave you with a strong feeling. The play makes you tap into your emotions," said Courtney Edge, a sophomore theatre and French major from Portsmouth, who plays the character of Angie.
Churchhill wrote the play as a warning to all women that it is important to find balance in life, according to Bryna Wortman, director of the play.
"The play is demonstrating that everyone needs balance in their lives. One of the biggest points I am trying to make in directing this play, is that children suffer when parents have imbalanced lives and the children's potential falters. It's a very complex, thought-provoking play for women and men alike," said Wortman.
The play is being produced in conjunction with Women's History Month in March. It was chosen by the Theatre Department to highlight the talents of the department's actresses, who are often overshadowed in male-dominant plays.
The panel discussion, to be held following the March 1 performance, will be on the topic of "Top Girls of Rhode Island 2001." A panel of women from URI and the state of Rhode Island will use the play as a starting point to discuss women of the past, present, and future, and also to share their own stories of their journey as women. A "meet and greet" the panel will take place at 7:15 p.m. before the performance. Light refreshments will be served. Panelists include: Winifred Brownell, dean of URI's College of Arts and Sciences; Christine Ferguson, director of Rhode Island Department of Human Services; Maureen McKenna Goldberg, associate justice of the Rhode Island State Supreme Court; Jami A. Ouellette, president of Ima'j Communications and Design Inc.; Roberta Richman, assistant director of rehabilitative services at the Adult Correctional Institutions; and Arlene Violet, attorney and former Rhode Island attorney general.