Using the website http://www.willyrussell.com, research the life of the author Willy Russell and write down six key facts you find out about him.
Use a good dictionary to find out the definitions of the following words:
Read pages 13 and 14 until ‘Come in!’ Write down your initial impressions of Frank. The first one is done for you.
1. An alcoholic who drinks at work.
Read pages 13–16. Frank and Rita come from very different social classes. Frank is upper middle class and Rita is working class. Write down examples of Rita’s colloquial language:
Read pages 17–23. Rita’s and Frank’s different backgrounds are very apparent on these pages and there are moments of confusion when they talk.
Complete the table on the following page.
In each case, try to identify the reason for the confusion and what we learn about each character in this section.
‘I read this poem about fightin’ death …’
‘Ah – Dylan Thomas’
Read pages 24–25. Imagine you are Rita. Write your application letter for the Open University. Try to use the type of language Rita would have used.
You may wish to use the following structure –
Start with Dear Sir/Madam
Paragraph 1 – Explain why you are writing the letter.
Paragraph 2 – Outline why you are unhappy with your present life (five sentences).
Paragraph 3 – Explain what you hope to get from the course (five sentences).
End with Yours sincerely,
Read page 29. Think about how Rita struggles with the door at the beginning of the play. Now she oils Frank’s door as she promised to. This is a metaphor.
Discuss with a partner why you think Russell has included this in his play and what it represents. Write your thoughts in the space below.
Read page 31, focusing on the extract about Rita’s school life.
1) Work with a partner and write a school report for Rita. Use the headings below to help you.
2) Work with a partner. One of you is Rita’s teacher and the other is her mother. Write a script for a role play set at a parents’ evening to discuss the report you wrote for Rita. Use the information on pages 31 and 32.
Read Frank’s advice to Rita about literary criticism on page 33, then use a good dictionary to find out the definitions of the following words:
Read pages 32–38. Imagine you are Frank. Write a diary entry in which you reflect on your feelings about Rita at this stage of your relationship with her. You may wish to think about the following:
Paragraph 1 – The day you first met her and your first impressions of her.
Paragraph 2 – Her current standard of education.
Paragraph 3 – Your feelings about her current life and wishes for the future.
Paragraph 4 – What it is you like about her.
Read pages 44–49. In the space below write a short summary of Peer Gynt and explain why Russell includes reference to it in the play.
Rita talks about working class life. Make a list of the negative things she says working class life is about:
Write a character study of Rita at this stage of the play.
You may wish to think about the following structure:
Paragraph 1 – Explain who she is, her background and what she is doing.
Paragraph 2 – Outline what she wants to achieve by attending the O.U....
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