True comedy explores themes as serious and important as appear in any tragedy. Demonstrate to what extent Educating Rita contains serious and important themes as well as being a comic play.
Willy Russell’s play entitled ‘Educating Rita’ is a dark and comic drama set within the confines of a University classroom. The play features two characters, Frank a troubled lecturer who has grown disillusioned with his existence, and Rita, a working class Liverpudlian with a thirst for knowledge and a desire to find meaning in life. The drama tackles many serious themes including alcoholism, social class and exclusion, relationship troubles and gender roles. It addresses these issues in an engaging and comic way, the seriousness of these issues often disguised by the wit and charm of the characters.
The way that Frank is introduced to the reader says a lot about his character. The curtain draws on Frank frantically scurrying about looking for a hidden bottle of whiskey that he has concealed in his bookshelf. “Eureka” exclaims Frank as he finally finds it. This somewhat amusing scenario serves to highlight an unhappiness felt by the character and issues around alcohol. This point is further highlighted during a rather sardonic toing and throwing with his partner. Frank concedes in this conversation that he is taking on extra work “to pay for the drink”, and the biting nature of the dialogue suggests that all is not well in his relationship.
Rita enters the scene full of energy and life after battling with the door knob on the way in. Her demeanour is that of a nervous working class girl who is desperately trying to come to grips with surroundings that are totally alien to her. Rita’s brash and unconventional manner is perfectly illustrated in her attempt to converse with Frank about an erotic painting displayed in his room. “This was like the porn of its day, wasn’t it?” Rita innocently asks. The characters repeated questioning disguises an...
Bibliography: Russell, W. (2007). Educating Rita. 1st ed. London: Methuen Drama.
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