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Sunday, November 2, 2003
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New York actor makes Ohio University directing debut

Shelley Delaney, newly appointed assistant professor of acting at Ohio University, is no stranger to the conflict in the play she is currently directing at the School of Theater. The play, "Top Girls" by Caryl Churchill, is about a woman's struggle to survive in harsh social circumstances. As a successful actor who has worked in New York and at regional theaters across the country, Delaney knows well the obstacles women face in order to reach the highest levels of a profession. Since coming to Ohio University last fall, she has been inspiring students with her passion for acting and enthusiasm for teaching. Delaney continues to work professionally as an actor and now takes on "Top Girls" as both a directing and teaching challenge.

Written in the 1980's, "Top Girls" is as relevant as ever. The political issues mirror today's, some of them seemingly frozen in time: Military conflict in Afghanistan and in the Middle East, a western distrust of Saddam Hussein, a Republican president looking to jumpstart a sluggish economy and a rising unemployment rate.


Delaney says the political complexity of the play was daunting to her at first, but once she and the eight female students who star in the piece started rehearsals, her anxieties disappeared. They found the context of the eighties to be so similar to contemporary life that the world of the play became crystal clear. They also discovered that their modern lives have already taught them a great deal about war, conservatism, and materialism. Also, while Churchill's writing is politically charged, it is wildly theatrical, at times giddily funny, and with the delicacy of human imperfections at its core, it always touches the heart.


"Top Girls"' crazy opening scene brings an eclectic mix of women from the pages of history to the stage. They gather there to get drunk with the protagonist, Marlene, in celebration of her promotion at the Top Girls employment agency. As the action of the play moves forward, Marlene's "success" is examined both in her workplace and in her family life.


"Top Girls" is about women. It is about struggle.


Ohio University's School of Theater presents "Top Girls" Nov. 5-7 and 12-15 at 8 p.m. at Elizabeth Evans Baker Theatre in Kantner Hall.

For ticket information and reservations call (740) 593-4800.

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Media Contact: School of Theater Director Bob St. Lawrence, (740) 593-4818 or sbob1@ohio.edu

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