“Top Girls” Employment Agency. Business in London run by Marlene. The spaces themselves are nondescript and colorless, suggesting corporate dehumanization and lack of maternal succor. Churchill staffs them only with upwardly mobile female managers in what would usually be viewed as a masculine field. This gender shift and destabilization is underlined by the ill health of Howard, the one male manager, who, like all men mentioned in the play, remains firmly offstage.
Joyce’s kitchen and backyard. Small house in a country village, the childhood home of Joyce and Marlene and their working-class parents, situated near the town of Ipswich in Suffolk, about sixty miles east of London. The damp house, the junk-filled backyard, and the nearby fens provide the play’s most detailed environment, to contrast with the smart, tidy London offices. This naturalistic specificity explores the effects that such an environment has on women trapped in social roles, both those who remain and those who attempt to escape. The kitchen, often used to symbolize the female space, is instead the site of a political debate between the sisters and a head-on collision between capitalist individualism and the moral responsibilities of family and class identity.