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Educating Rita

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Educating Rita 'Educating Rita' was voted best comedy of the year when performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980. Russell uses the humour to convey the messages in the play in a more light hearted way, sometimes using dark humour, the play may be very funny but behind the humour there are many serious issues being dealt with. For my coursework I am going to look at how Russel creates humour in Act 1 Scene 1. The play is set with a fixed and simple staging, which firmly reflects the real world. The entire play is set in one study room in a university. The room is Frank's environment, cluttered with books representing both the world of knowledge and the disordered state of Frank's life. ...read more.


Rita's accent and dialect clearly sets her apart and so does the constant swearing and joking. At times however, it is her lack of knowledge that marks the difference: "Do you know Yeats?" says Frank. "The wine lodge?" comes the reply. Both characters are dissatisfied with their lives and each has a sense of being incomplete in different ways. Rita feels that she needs to "find herself" before she has a baby. She is obviously bright and quick-witted but missed out on education. Here, Russell's use of humour becomes more pronounced as the two characters begin to feed off each other. Rita's coarse and blunt humour is met by Frank's dry wit and the two contrasting styles work well together. Another source of humour in this scene is when Rita sees the religious painting that Frank has obviously not even noticed for years. ...read more.


'Educating Rita' deals with a wide range of contemporary issues such as class divides, the role of women in society and the importance of education. It also deals with narrower but no less important issues at the level of individual suffering and emotions. Frank hides his despair in alcohol and Rita seeks to escape from her own identity through education. In that sense this is a very serious play with a lot to say and without humour it would be very dark and difficult for the audience to accept. In many ways the humour comes naturally out of the situation. Rita's attempts to recreate herself have a natural element of absurdity as she tries to compete in the academic world without the right background or knowledge. She is bound to make mistakes and it is better that we, the audience laugh with her than at her. I thought the play dealt with some issues very well and was very enjoyable. ...read more.

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