Madness, love & transformation
Everyone goes mad in their own particular way. Nowra thinks madness is too generalised, and it is based on each individuals past and experiences etc.
At the end of the play, Lewis is no longer afraid of madness. Lewis is thoroughly transformed by the patients. Nowra uses a mixture of laughter and madness, which is a volatile mixture. We usually see madness as dark and scary, so we can keep it in a corner and ignore it. When he adds humour to it, then we begin to be able to relate to it, they share similar emotions. .fear.
Lewis has to face various hurdles throughout the play. He suffers from a lack of gumption at first. His major hurdle is Henry. Lewis realises that he has got to get Henry to stay. Through rehearsing he is connecting emotionally with the patients.
Every scene is a hurdle. Each time he learns to care about the patients as individuals. He goes on what is called a character arc (complete change). It is a ‘fish out of water’ story. Lewis is thrust into another world to transform him. Often, when someone doesn’t have a family or friends etc, due to a dysfunctional past etc whatever (in Lewis’ case his relationship with Nick and Lucy is going downhill) he then makes the patients his family, he finds a new sense of reality with them.
Vietnam War is what Lewis believes in at first. But he will agree with anyone at the start, so long as it keeps the peace. Mozart may seem an insignificant detail to the play, but that’s the point. To Lewis, how you can show love for someone becomes more important than politics etc, i.e. it’s the little things that count etc (Hence Mozart’s music, just a simple beauty).
When Lewis enters the asylum it is like an island (thrust into another world). The patients don’t even know there is a war going on. Lewis is transformed by his experience. How it works is that you stick people on this island, and watch how they change. They are forced to face their demons because they can’t get off the island.
Cosi character quotes
Memorise quotes for your essay questions. Here are some to get you started.
“I need the money, Lucy” (p 1)
“Do you think we should be doing something like this? ... In these days, you know, the Vietnam war?” (p 9) “I mean about the theme. Love is not so important these days.” (p 10) “Why can’t I ever say no? Just leave. They’re mad. It’s madness...”. ‘This is an unusual position for me ... I directed some plays at university ... and, well ... this is my first year out …’. Julie: ‘They still scare you?’
Lewis: ‘It’s not so bad. My grandmother went mad. I went once to the asylum to see her. In her mind she was living in the year before I was born. She thought I was Eric, my father. And he had just married mum and she was about to have me’. Julie: Don’t ever tell a psychiatrist that story, they’d have a heart attack on the symbolism of it all’.
‘We’re agreed. We don’t want to see Australian soldiers die in meaningless war.’ (page 48) ‘Mozart. I’m not going to let them down’.
‘There was no next year. This theatre mysteriously burnt down a week after the performance and Doug was the major suspect’. (page 89)
Doug: Women like to pretend they don’t play around but they’re just more secretive about it. (p18) Doug: You can always find loneliness in a marriage, but never solitude.”
Cherry: [to Doug] Go burn a cat.
Lewis: Why are they always saying that?
Doug: That's what I did.
Lewis: Burned a cat?
Doug: No, CATS. See mum had five cats, and me and mum we'd been having some... differences. So one night I rounded 'em up, put 'em in a cage, doused 'em with petrol and put a match to 'em! [Lewis chuckles, thinking it's a joke. Doug grins and laughs] Doug: Heh-heh! Funny, eh?
[He sits next to Lewis]
Doug: Then, I opened up the cage door and I let 'em run loose. Welllll, what a racket. They were runnin' round the backyard, burnin' and howlin'. [He gives a psychotic little laugh]
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