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If you were directing 'Educating Rita', how would you seek to achieve the humour for an Audience

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If you were directing 'Educating Rita', how would you seek to achieve the humour for an Audience? 'Educating Rita' is a humorous play that was written by Willy Russell in 1979, based on his own life. It is set in Liverpool and depicts the perseverance of a working class, 26-year-old hairdresser with no qualifications called Susan, or as she is called throughout the play, 'Rita', as she tries to 'discover herself' by participating in an English literature course at the Open University. Her lecturer, who is from a more middle class background, Frank, is somewhat of an unorthodox one; he is frequently found to be drunk and, during one lecture, he is so drunk that he falls off of the rostrum in the hall! This erratic behaviour leads to him being sent to Australia for two years. In this essay, I am going to discuss how I might direct this play so that I achieve humour for the audience. There are four main aspects that create the humour in the play 'Educating Rita': the first of which is the comedy of the character. This is when a character in the play is perceived as being humorous by the way that the character speaks or a trait that the character has. ...read more.


The third aspect that creates humour for the audience is the comedy of misunderstanding; this is when characters misunderstand each other with entertaining results. In act one, scene one after Rita has just entered the room; both she and Frank misunderstand each other when asking questions to each other: Frank: 'You are?' Rita: 'What am I?' Frank: 'Pardon?' Rita: 'What?' Frank: 'Now you are?' Rita: 'I'm a what?' The audience would find this particularly humorous, as neither Frank nor Rita latch's onto the other's wavelength: they are talking about totally different things. As director, I would have the two actors looking puzzled while posing their respective questions to the other character. A second example that would fall into the comedy of misunderstanding category would be the scene featuring Rita and Frank discussing 'Howard's End'. Rita tells Frank that she is going to see a production of 'Howard's End', Frank obviously thinks that she is going to see a professional production when, in actual fact she is seeing an amateur production. The results of this would appear very humorous to the audience as a debate arises between the pair; Frank rubbishing the quality of amateur plays. ...read more.


Of the four main aspects of comedy that I have discussed, I feel that the comedy of character is the most effective. This is because one of the characters, Frank, creates lots of humour throughout the play, which stems from his alcoholic addiction. A prime example of this is the hilarious scene when he falls off of the rostrum- an action that occurs because of his drunkenness. Along with Frank's drinking, Rita's entrance to the play is an example of extremely effective comedy of character. However, as the play progresses and Rita becomes more aware and cognisant of her actions the comedy seems to derive from Frank's drunkenness. There is much to be said as to how you would direct this play. Personally I would involve more than just the two characters Frank and Rita. This would give me as director, the chance to introduce more humorous situations. Other occurrences that would possibly make the play more interesting could be added to the play with the introduction of extra characters. Willy Russell wrote this play to be performed, but I must wonder why he wrote the play with only two characters if he did eventually see the play being performed on the silver screen. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joe Smith ...read more.

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