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educating rita

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'How does Willy Russell make the opening scene dramatic and entertaining? In what ways is it a good introduction to the characters and themes of the play?' 'Educating Rita' is a short play by Willy Russell, which was written in 1985. The play is about a 26 year old woman who hasn't had a proper education and wants to find herself before giving into her husband and having a baby. The other main character is a man called Frank who is a teacher at a university, is in his mid fifties and is an alcoholic. In the play the settings never change; the play always takes place in Frank's office. There are only two characters in the whole of the play, however other people are mentioned and we get an idea of Rita and Frank's views on them. I think the opening scene in plays is the most important. It is the scene where we get our first impressions on the characters and I believe Willy Russell does a good job in making it entertaining and dramatic. At the start of the first scene we meet Frank who is looking through books on a bookshelf to find a bottle of whiskey. I was curious as to why a teacher was hiding bottles of whiskey. This also indicated he was an alcoholic. I believe this was one of the ways Willy Russell was making the opening scene dramatic because you don't expect a teacher to be drunk at work or to get away with it. ...read more.


It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed!' From reading the first scene it is obvious Rita is not an educated person because she doesn't pronounce her words properly such as 'y', which is instead of 'you'. What's interesting about her entrance is that it is very incongruous. You don't expect a pupil to talk to her tutor like that or to be ordering him about because it is seen as disrespectful but Frank and Rita seem to get a long fine even though they've just met each other. However you do not expect two people to talk to each other the way they do when they have just met, especially since they are tutor and pupil. For example, Rita finds a painting on the wall and mentions that it is 'very erotic' and that there's 'no doubt about it. Look at those tits'. This is very humorous because it's shocking to believe that Rita is saying it to somebody she has only just met, never mind her teacher. She comes across as an open woman who enjoys having a laugh. It becomes obvious that Rita also doesn't know how to act in situations, which she admits: 'that's what I do. Y'know when I'm nervous'. I think this would make the audience cringe slightly because Rita is not the type of person you would expect to turn up in a university for an education. ...read more.


I should have had a baby by now; everyone expects it'). At the time it reflected a woman's place in society and what is expected. From the first scene we can see that Rita is not your everyday typical woman and she certainly doesn't want to abide by the expectations that are made for her as she says; 'I don't want a baby yet. See. I wanna discover meself first'. These themes link together because Rita has aspirations to gain a better education for herself, so she can understand more about subjects and discover herself. I also think she wants to change herself because she's discontent with her life, especially now that things are changing. I know she's discontent with her life because she changed her name from Susan to Rita, so she could pretend to be someone she admired. Around the time this play was written equal rights for women and men were coming into law and how a woman was seen in society was changing. I think she also wants to gain an education because she wants self-fulfilment. Women's place in society ties in with this because Rita shouldn't be gaining an education now but instead she is expected to have a baby. In my opinion I think Rita is doing right by gaining an education now, because there shouldn't be anybody tying a woman down to make her do things she doesn't want to do and it's nobody's place to stop her from having aspirations. Sarah Barton-Mccaul ...read more.

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