Cosi Essay

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Cosi, composed by Louis Nowra, is a minimalist play contextualised by the Vietnam War which emphasises the characters and their growth. Cosi explores the distinctive ideas of illusion verses reality and the concept of “madness” in a comedic and innovative way, through a variety of dramatic techniques. The device of a play-within-a-play of Cosi Fan Tutte, develops an effective dichotomy, while highlighting the dramatic verisimilitude of the values presented in the outside and inside worlds. Lewis, a young, inexperienced radical and director of the production undergoes an extensive transformation during his participation in the opera as it becomes a catalyst for both him and the patients. The problematic nature of what is considered “normal” highlights the “insane” normality of existence, which enriches the principle of drama. The opening scene establishes the characters and the context of the play while exploring the distinctive ideas that are developing. The stage directions [A burnt out theatre] metaphorically represents the world at large, introducing the dramatic technique of light and dark. Heavy irony is utilised when the lights turn on “a small dismal hall is revealed”. Through the illumination, a bleak situation is revealed symbolising the life that surrounds the inmates. Unable to differentiate between “normal” and “insane”, mistaking Roy as a social worker, “are you the social worker”, the distinct idea of illusion verses reality is introduced alongside the protagonist, Lewis, allowing responders to realise Lewis is [out of his depth] with both the production and the patients. The truncated sentences and Lewis’ hesitant tone reveals his nervousness, [uncertainly] “yes”, exploring the idea through his mannerism. As the opening scene further develops the responder’s grasp the ideas that explore Lewis’ values. His values and well as his friends, Nick and Lucy, are shaped political issues, “love is not so important these days, you know the Vietnam War”,...
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