Educating Rita

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Willy Russel’s 1985 play Educating Rita is a story of a women’s struggle escape her repetitive boring working class life and move into a wider, educated world. Russel uses characters, settings and many techniques to effectively explore this potentially difficult topic in an interesting and entertaining way. ‘Into the world’ is a potentially difficult topic in that it involves person, life-changing events that may become hard for the audience to relate to or understand. Russel avoids these problems by challenging stereotypes and melodrama by using characters in an interesting way.

The play is a two-hander which means that only two characters are speaking in the play. By having only these two characters, it keeps the audience engaged and they become more familiar with the characters and can relate to them easier, engaging the audience. Other characters are mentioned, but are never seen in the actual play. The outside world is only seen through Franks and Rita’s eyes, which interests the audience into learning the characters struggles and experiences.

Russel uses very good stage settings to make the play more interesting. The whole play being set in one room, Frank’s office, is not very common in theatres or plays. Having this shocks the audience and instantly becomes more interesting because of its difference. On a symbolic level, the furniture is very interesting. The squeaky door represents a Frank’s barrier, and isolation from the outside world. The window, although transparent, represents a weaker barrier he has with his students. However, Rita finds her way in; showing her determination from Frank’s lost spirit. This struggle of becoming a more educated person becomes interesting for the audience as they can compare it their own struggles Since the play has only two characters involved, the audience becomes very close to these characters, which makes it more interesting and entertaining.

Rita is a working class person who has a strong desire to learn...
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