BY REBECCA JASULEVICZ
“Top Girls,” a play by Caryl Churchill, is scheduled to show from April 30 to May 4 at 7:30 PM, and May 5 at 2:00 PM.
The play is being performed in the Smith-McFarland Theatre in the Fine and Performing Arts Center.
The play revolves around the career success of Marlene, who is based off of Margaret Thatcher.
The play takes place in 1980s England and it asks the questions, does career success cause happiness and what do women have to sacrifice to get to the top?
Felicia Revero, who plays the main character Marlene, said, “It has been intense. Every night you come to rehearsal and every night you’re another person It’s helped me realize a lot of things about my life.”
Revero is a senior who has appeared in “One Thousand Cranes, 10,000 Cigarettes, Death of a Vampire,” the 2011 Murder Mystery and one of the 2012 Stage II One-Act plays.
She has also directed and served as a production manager in past plays.
Michelle Jones will be playing Patient Griselda and Nell, and so will be sporting an Italian and a British accent throughout the play.
Jones said, “For me it’s been a challenge because we’ve been doing dialects…To go between two different dialects in one show is difficult, but I’m happy with how I’ve done.” Jones previously appeared in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Starting Over, Sold!,”“Electra,” “One Thousand Cranes,” “As You Like It and Beauty.”
Rebecca Regina, who previously acted in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “A Christmas Carol” and the 2012 Stage II One-Act Plays, will be playing Isabella Bird and Louise.
She said, “I’ve loved doing the research on the two [characters] because they’re real people.”
In fact, almost all of the characters of the play were real people.
One of the characters, Dull Gret, is a woman taken from the painting Dulle Griet by Pieter Bruegel, and it depicts a woman known as “the harrower of hell” leading an army of women to pillage hell.
Dull Gret is being played by Ellyse Burnett, a senior who has worked behind the scenes as the stage manager and crew chief in prior productions.
Elldee Gao, who is a foreign exchange student from Xie Jin College Film and Television Art College of Shanghai Normal University, said, “It’s a challenge for me. I’ve learned a lot and I really like all the girls I work with. I’ve had a great time in America.”
Gao is playing a traditional Japanese woman, Lady Nijo, and a British woman, Win.
Professor Stephanie Daventry French is directing “Top Girls.”
She has previously directed “Sold!,””Blithe Spirit,” “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” “The Phantom Tollbooth,” “The Hobbit,””A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Romeo and Juliet” and many other productions with the ESU Theatre Department.
Set and Costume Design is by Yoshinori Tanokura, who has designed “A Christmas Carol,” “The Hobbit,” “Sold!”, “Blithe Spirit,” “Electra,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and many other ESU productions.
Though Professor French and Professor Tanokura are faculty, not all of those working on the production are university staff.
The Multi-Media Designer, Brandon L. Cabrera, and the Sound Director, Rhi Millard, are both juniors. Cabrera is majoring in theatre and Millard is majoring in communication studies with a concentration in broadcasting and a minor in women’s studies.
The Lighting Designer, however, is a guest artist. According to Professor French, giving the students the opportunity to work with a professional gives them a great idea of what it would be like to work in theatre in the future.
Professor French said, “We build a completely new world. I wanted to use the play as a conversation starter. What has changed?”
After each performance, a post-show discussion will commence, each about a different topic concerning balancing careers with personal lives.
Notably, the discussion on May 2 will feature President Marcia Welsh.
The actors have been preparing for the production for the past five weeks, and their hard work will finally be showcased within a week’s time.
According to Professor French, “There’s both drama and comedy, something for everyone!”
General admission is $12. Faculty/staff and senior admission is $10. Student admission is $7, and youth admission is $5. If there are any questions or concerns, please contact the ESU Theatre Department.
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