Close Study of Text: Cosi
The play “Cosi” by Louis Nowra is about a young, inexperienced university student who is given the task of directing a play in a mental hospital. The play uses many dramatic techniques including the setting of the play, humour, Language, the play within the play structure, and the fourth wall to help draw the audience into the world of the play. The play also has distinct ideas such as the question of people’s attitudes towards the mentally ill and people’s attitudes towards love and fidelity to further draw the audience into the world of the play when mentally ill people were ignored and not accepted as ‘normal’ people.
The setting is very important to the success it has in bringing forth its ideas and drawing the audience into the world of the play. The play is set in the 1970’s during the time of the Vietnam war, many students of that time were involved in numerous causes such as, opposing conscription, rejecting traditional values of love, fidelity and marriage, and opposing many capitalist ideas. This time setting works in a couple ways, people in society at the time of the play were questioning certain values and attitudes. Nowra is effectively challenging the audience to question the values and attitudes that they have towards the mentally ill and the importance of values such as love and fidelity. The time setting helps getting the audience in the right mood to question these values and attitudes.
Humour is a largely used technique in Cosi as it has an effect of humanising the characters and we laugh with the patients not at them, we stop seeing them in a stereotypical way, instead we see them as real people but people with real problems. Some of the types of humour used includes vulgar humour e.g. “DOUG: poofter”, one-liners e.g. “JUSTIN: Where would the world be without social workers? DOUG: In tip top condition”, and running jokes e.g. “CHERRY: go burn a cat”. Using humour really helps the audience connect with the...
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