Cosi - Louis Nowra

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Cosi by Louis Nowra is a play within a play, Meta Theatre, and is a semi-autobiographical, touching and a biting portrayal of human relationships and mental illness. Prior to the 1970s, people who suffered from ‘mental disorders’ were sent to mental institutes in order to prevent them from bringing shame onto their families and the community. The ‘illnesses’ ranged from true mental instability, such as OCD and schizophrenia, to alcoholics and drug abusers. This is what Nowra’s play is based around.

Cosi Fan Tutte, first performed in 1790, is a play that conveys the theme of love and fidelity. The play revolves around the plot of two men, Guglielmo and Ferrando, who decide to test the fidelity of their partners, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, by 'going to war' but secretly come back dressed up as soldiers returning from war and try to seduce the women. Their plan was successful, but the twist is that Guglielmo's girlfriend fell for Ferrando and vice versa. In the end all was set right and Ferrando was back together with his partner and so was Guglielmo.

This extract from Louis Nowra's play Cosi highlights an important turning point in the play. This extract shows the main themes of love and fidelity, the treatment of mental patients shown through the character development of Lewis. Nowra shows these themes through the use of dramatic techniques throughout the play such as a beat, stage directions and dialogue.

The turning point highlights a change in the character Lewis's view on mental illness. In the beginning Lewis was very much on the same page as his friends Lucy and Nick, in that they saw mentally ill people as outcasts. This is shown by the way Nick says "they are coming to take me away ha ha, to the funny farm"(p41) whenever he visits Lewis to 'help'. We see some change from this point of view early on in the play when Lewis sides with the patients when Doug sets the bathroom on fire. Also by the second act we see a big change in Lewis’s attitude to...
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