One of the more vicious double standards women must deal with is in the realm of power. As equality between the sexes creeps incrementally towards a position of balance, more women achieve positions of power in society. And so more women work to attain positions of power — and so more women are faulted for being ambitious or for seeking power, two "traditionally" male qualities. This conundrum is the basis for Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, which explores what it means to be a successful and ambitious woman — and what it costs. Marlene allows nothing to impede her journey to the top of the business world. She sacrifices familial bonds and friendships for the sake of accomplishment, and Marlene gets what she wants. Seemingly alone at the top of the heap, Marlene enjoys her success in the company of a nineteenth-century female explorer, a thirteenth-century Japanese concubine and Pope Joan, the probably apocryphal female pope of the ninth century. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble closes its "Season of Roaring Women" with Top Girls; performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (September 16 through 26) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive; 314-835-7415 or www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $10 to $15.
Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 16. Continues through Sept. 26, 2009