Educating Rita & Bend It Like Beckham Notes

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It’s interesting when we look at media and wonder if it all Depends on the Attitude of the author, producer or publisher when it comes to looking at certain issues or points relating into the world. What we don’t realise in the 21st century is that year 12 students studying supplementary material in standard English may find it difficult to understand and come to terms with it.

‘Educating Rita’ was voted ‘Best Comedy of the year’ when performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980. By 1983 it had risen to be the fourth most popular play on the British stage. Perhaps Willy Russell’s attitude towards his work might partly explain his appeal? As well as being concerned to pitch his work at the broadest possible audience he says that: “I really don’t want to write plays which are resigned, menopausal, despairing and whining. I don’t want to use any medium as a platform for displaying the smallness and hopelessness of man” - Willy Russell

This statement is especially interesting, because on one level Frank and Rita’s story might easily have illustrated precisely what Willy Russell is at pains to avoid. In Rita we see a character driven by a sense of incompleteness, who struggles for an education that will take her beyond the class and culture into which she has been born, a theme reflected in many of Russell’s major plays since mid-1970s. She commits herself to the Open University course, well aware of what she is leaving behind and what must change. Rita realises that her class may have a certain level of affluence, but its way os life lacks meaning for her. She doesn’t actually believe in a distinct working class culture.

‘Educating Rita’ is very much character driven and lacks a real crisis point in it. We do, however, learn a lot about the two characters Frank and Rita tend to hold the audience’s focus during the play. The dialogue and conversations between the characters hold the play together. ‘Educating Rita’...
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