"Educating Rita" is the semi-autobiography of playwright Willy Russell. The play was inspired by Russell's experiences at evening classes. Much of the comedy arises from Rita's fresh, unschooled reaction to the classics of English literature. But she is never patronized by the Russell, who recognizes from his own experience that education is a means of escape from one's own circumstances. "Educating Rita" takes the lives of two people on the opposite ends of the social spectrum and brings them together in the pursuit of education. It is a small intimate play, but it tells a story of big ideas; ideas close to Willy Russell's heart. There is a lot of humor in the writing, but it is also a serious play about class and choice.
The play "Educating Rita" by Willy Russell gained great popularity especially during the early eighties. There has also been a movie made from it starring Julie Walters and the more famous Michael Caine. As so often the case, the movie was more elaborate with additional scenes, some of which were spoken of or retold by the actors in the play. The movie also included several actors while the play only featured two, Frank and Rita. After having read the play and seen the movie I am struck by a number of differences. Seemingly subtle, many small details have a great impact on how the story is being perceived. The movie offers much more background information on other characters and events that are important to the story.
I think showing the off-stage characters is the major difference of the movie compared to the play. There are a lot of off-stage characters in the play. In the play, Rita mentions the off-stage characters to Frank when they are talking, but they never really appear and take part in the conversations. In the movie, however, off-stage characters like Denny (Rita's husband), Trish and Rita's mom turn up and take part in Rita's conversations and her life actively. Everything Rita experiences with those characters is shown in...
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