Cosi shows us that ‘fairytale endings’ do not reflect real life. How does Nowra’s play show us the complexity of people’s existence?
Cosi is a play set in the 1970s, when Australia and the world were facing political complexities, such as the conflict against the communist government and the happenning of the Vietnam War. It was a time when people had to choose their loyalties, causing great frustration and tearing the community apart. We are able to see this in Cosi in the lives of two best mates Nick and Lewis, as their priorities and commitments during that period of time, as well as conflicting social views with the rise of different social conventions such as ‘free love’ during the 1970s. It is a play within a play with parallel runnings with Mozart’s opera ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’, both plays explore the meanings of love and fidelity and how Lucy parallels the infidelity of the women in ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’. Nowra also allows us to see how the theatre works its magic, as a therapy not only for the insane but as well as the sane. As we slowly see the cast blossoming towards the end of the play, Lewis ends it by announcing some fateful happenings of the cast such as the deaths of Julie and Henry, giving an unfairytale like ending to the play. However not all had the same fate, we see how Ruth’s obsessive compulsive disorder allowed her to become a “time and motion expert” and Zac’s eccentricity making him a “rock and roll” player.
‘Cosi fan Tutte’ main theme is about a woman’s infidelity towards man. Despite the opera being set in the 1700s and facing problems with love and fidelity, it proves that society still hasn’t changed in that perspective with the characters in Cosi mirroring some of it’s values. The ‘free love’ movement during the 1970s also shows how society is becoming much more liberal in character and less conservative. The influence also caused a seperation between the community as some still stick to their conservative views such as Lewis, Nick and...
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