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Best Dinner Scene In A Play

Top Girls
Damesrocket Theatre

STAFF PICK: The feminist dinner party in this British play was so terrific that we just had to make up a category to accommodate it. A contemporary English business woman, briskly played by our own Molly McKasson, is having a dinner party to celebrate a promotion. But the guest list, my dears, is to die for. There's Pope Joan (Cynthia Meier), the legendary female pope of the ninth century; Lady Nijo (Joy Lynn Pak), a 13th-century Japanese courtesan and Buddhist nun; Dull Gret (Jodi K. Cuneo), a 16th-century warrior-housewife; Patient Griselda (Kiley Jones DeGreen), the Chaucer character who gave up her children to prove her love for her husband; and finally, a real-life Victorian lady traveler, the plucky Isabella Bird (Toni Press-Coffman). These ladies discourse on everything under the female sun: ambitions pinched, lovers acquired, children stolen, victories over patriarchy--however short-lived. Director Caroline Reed allowed the characters to luxuriate in their freedom to talk; they interrupted, talked with their mouths full, talked at the same time as the others. Their dialogue became a voluptuous tapestry of voices triumphantly unsilenced.

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