Cosi

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ENGLISH
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT TASK
YEAR 11 – STANDARD
Jenai Lawrance

TASK 4: THE AUSTRALIAN EXPERIENCE
-ESSAY ON ‘COSI’

‘’Drama allows us to examine our national identity through characters and conflict’’. Discuss this statement with reference to the play you have studied in class.

The play ‘Cosi’ composed by Louis Nowra and set in Melbourne during the early 1970’s allows the audience to reflect on what it mean to be an Australian in the era and in modern times. Through the eyes of the protagonist, Lewis and his conflicting relationships with the mental patients he meets while directing the play ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ and his own personal relationships, the audience examines the notion of inner growth in young people as they navigate their way into adulthood. The audience is also forced to look at the opposing views of love and fidelity as represented by Lewis and the minor characters. Through the use of the backdrop of the Vietnam Way and the turmoil of 1970’s, the audience is also asked to reflect on Australia’s changing identity through the treatment of the mentally ill and the tension caused by the war in Vietnam. This is most clearly highlighted through symbolic use of lighting and set design and emotive language. Lewis’ shifting relationships with those he directs in the play and the personal relationships he held before it demonstrates the journey that young Australians experience as they become adults. Lewis is a young university graduate who has obtained his first job directing a play in a mental institution. He claims at the beginning of the play that he is only doing it because he ‘needs the money’, and at first appears uncomfortable and apprehensive with the patients, but he quickly gains insight and new relationships through the experience. Before starting the play Lewis’ views on love was non-existent. He did not believe love was an important factor in life, but after becoming close with the mental health patients during the practice of the...
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