Educating Rita

The drama I'm going to present now is called " Educating Rita" and written by Willy Russell. I'm going to talk about him a little bit later.
The drama was first put on stage in 1980 and won the Society of West End Theatres Award for Best Comedy in the same year.
In 1983 it was made into a film which was very successful as well, so that it was even Oscar nominated.
The drama consists of two acts, the one with seven scenes and the other one with eight scenes.

In the whole play there are only two different characters: Frank and Rita.
- dialogue, reason that there are not many stage directions, always very short

- first character Rita
- working class girl
- 26 years old, married with her husband Denny
- roles woman-man---- typical, left school early, got married, is working as a hairdresser
- so to say old-fashioned, living in a world of old-fashioned ideals
- funny, charming, spontaneous, natural charecteristics
- moreover talking a lot, impulsive, says what she thinks
- from Liverpool -- setting, it takes place in Liverpool
- Liverpool economical centre, west coast of England
- important harbours
- much industry, industrial centre-----consequence-working class is dominating, many
- Rita = typical example of a girl/woman in Liverpool
- most people there not very rich, (not very educated)

- Rita recognizes that something in her life is missing
- wants to change her life
- get out of the roles
- "there must be something more than the superficial things the people in the
hairdresser’s are talking about"
- surches for a solution
- wants to be educated, become a completely new person
- improve quality of her life, find herself, self-enlightment, find her real identity,
diversify the meaning of her life
- has changed her name into Rita (sounds better, Rita Mae Brown)

- leads her to the "Open University"
- special institution, giving adults the chance to get education
- his/her (social) background is unimportant
- teaching methods are different to normal universities
- made for people who want to study at home, without giving up their jobs
- learning with textbooks, notes on the radio/ TV, records, cassettes
- "open" for everyone (live in UK, over 21)
- don’t need any qualification like A-Levels---starting at your level of knowledge, until
your able to qualify for the university’s BA degree
- degrees are equal to those of normal universities
- better chances of career
- offers about 140 different courses
- more than 80,000 men/women are studying there per year
- have to have the will to learn, because have to do everything on your own

- Rita has will to learn
- get into O.U.
- story starts
- get to know Frank---her tutor

- Frank almost opposite of Rita
- in the fifties
- drinking problems
- is/was a poet, wrote poetry once
- works now at the O.U to earn money
- lives together with an ex-student Julia
- is unhappy, boring type
- educated, but it didn’t lead him to happiness

Folie Tafelbild 1?

- setting: only one place
- Frank’s office
- all the walls are covered with books
- bottles hidden behind the books
- only two desks and two chairs (phone)
- dreadful, sad, with no "life"

- influence of her social background
- thinks practically

- first lesson, first meeting between Frank and Rita
- start talking about literature
- many misunderstandings
- reason: she thinks in her world
- examples (Folie???)
- humour
- also fresh, wants to become another person
- spontaneity, breath of air in the room
- she thinks everything of the educated class is brilliant (sad office)
- culture, Rita: she has no, way of living doesn’t have a meaning
- art/literature feeds her inside
- thinks her way of living has no value
- starting with literary, "Howard’s End"
- crap, rubbish, doesn’t understand this
- in the following lessons she tries to write an essay, not successful (not writing about
the topic, only one sentence, not based on arguments)
- is soon able to distinguish good, intellectual books and others
- doesn‘t think of meanings, criticizes a book following her feelings (as she is used to)
- husband: doesn‘t understand her, wants to have a baby, working class
- problems with Denny get worse; he also has a picture of life in mind, different from
Ritasàbelonging to the working class ideals
- next time: Denny burnt all her books, on pill again
- she wants to have a choice (not only between washing powder, TV programmes)
- leaves Denny
- during the conversations, understands more and more
- essay better
- go to the theatre, again, loves it
- becomes evident again that she’s not very self-confident, not enough education
- invitation to dinner, first says yes, doesn’t come
- reasons ridiculous?; didn’t know what to wear, what to talk about, which wine to
bringàdoesn’t belong to this class, unsure (stupid woman, gives all a laugh)
- caught in the middle (Folie)
- end:
- good essay
- Frank is afraid that she will abandon her uniqueness by getting educated, standardised
- something like a love story, Frank interested in an affair (irrestible thing, why didn’t
you walk in here 20 years ago)
- Rita not interested, affair belongs to her old life, literature more important than life (love), Frank: life (love) more important than literature (experience)
- drinking problems become worse, finds hidden bottles, wants Frank to stop drinking

2. act
- change really visible
- change of roles; role reversalàpupil dependened on teacher-teacher dependened on p.
- returning from summer school
- new selfconfidence
- new clothes, own style
- very educated now
- first insider talk is possible
- he‘s very surprised that she already knows Blake
- Frank has problems with Julia

- only step back, voice
- doesn‘t depent on Frank anymore
- flatmate Trish, overwhelmed
- talked to other students
- changed her jobà bistro
- understands now literary criticism
- at the end of course, reads Franks poems --great
- F. don’t want to teach her anymore, too good, can’t bear that she is educated now
- changed her name into Susan

- passes the exams, great teacher, now she had the choice
- doesn‘t admire Trish that much any more (cool-suicide)
- educated, exited, confident, full of news, given up smoking
- Frank not that positive: Has two take to years of holiday (sacked from school)
- left by Julia
- going to Australia

- gives her a present. Dress for an educated woman, Annerkennung
- give back: cuts his hair

The story about Rita and her development is directly connected to the life of the author of this drama Willy Russell. It’s not just a story created by the author, but it has a lot of parallels to his real life.
- born in Whiston near Liverpool in 1947 (setting drama)
- dad was a factory worker, later bought a chips shop
- mother worked in a ware house---like Rita working class
- read books, played football, liked gardening lessons
.- didn’t care much for school/watched telly, so bad at school
- never went to the theatre or something like this (---Rita)
- got to know cruelty and violence at secondary school, very hard time, real brutality
- moved to Rainford (not far)
- not that much brutality at school, old-fashioned compared with old school, paradise
- loved lessons called "silent reading", discovered that this waswhat he wanted to do
- wanted to be a writer and create feelings in people
- problem: was bad at school, came from working class, no conections to academic
- but hated factory work, was supposed to work in a factory later
- often went to the "Cavern", where the Beatles were playing, sagging school
- failed the exam to become a printer
- mother had the idea that he could become a hairdresser
- didn’t care for the job---didn’t go to the school, didn’t know any thing about
- knew that he would never be able to be a writer in the world he was living in
- wanted to join the academic world ---better chances
- hairdressing senseless for him
- went back to school, did his exams
- wanted to go to college, didn’t have enough money
- did a very unsafe job at Ford to earn money
- started studying = new beginning, feeling at home
- in the following years he wrote a lot of dramas like "When the Reds" (first one),
"King of the Castle" (TV), "John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert", "Blood Brothers"...
- he once said himself that at the college he behaved like Rita, overvalued higher
education; enthusiastic, wanted to talk with everyone about his new knowledge
(people in the bus)

- wrote down some of his own experiences
- wants it to be understood like this
- in his opinion a play must walk and live alone, without interpretation aid given by the
- said in an interview. awful belief that something which is easily understood and
communicated is somehow inferior to that which requires profound analysis and
- I think important point
- opposite, the play is about literature, education language, he tried to write the play
also for people who have no knowledgeof literature
- doesn’t like all these explanations
- everyybody should be able to understand the play, although the people want it to be
less easily understood, mystic

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