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In this essay I am going to show my ideas for staging a production of 'Educating Rita', a play written by Willy Russell in 1979.

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First Draft of Educating Rita by Willy Russell In this essay I am going to show my ideas for staging a production of 'Educating Rita', a play written by Willy Russell in 1979. It was performed particularly in the 1980s decade and was written to appeal to both middle class people and the working class. The most famous production of 'Educating Rita' was shown on TV and starred Julie Walters and Michael Caine. 'Educating Rita' stars two people and takes place in a university office in Liverpool. Rita is a working class hairdresser who is dissatisfied with the life that lies ahead for her and feels uncomfortable and cramped in her working class lifestyle. She has a dream to be educated and surpass all expectations other people have of her. She is so determined to fulfil this dream that she signs up for a course in English Literature as part of the Open University scheme. Here, Rita is given a tutor called Frank, a man unhappy with the stuffy middle class lifestyle. Frank feels the same way about his life as Rita does about hers-he feels cramped and dislikes doing what other people expect of him. This made him dependant on alcohol. The play follows their relationship and shows how they learn from each other. Another play similar to Educating Rita in many ways was written in 1914 and is called Pygmalion. This book was the basis for the musical 'My Fair Lady', first produced in 1938 and may have been where Willy Russell got his ideas. It follows the education of a simple flower girl called Eliza (equal of Rita), who is discovered by a Professor of Phonetics, Higgins (the equal of Frank) and is educated to be a fine lady. Eliza is similar to Rita, in that she is simple and is educated and taught how to be a person of a status higher than she really is. ...read more.


At first I would dress Rita quite outrageously, with no dress sense and a very wacky way of dressing. This would reflect her nature at the time-she is innocent and new to how people expect you to dress. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her or her style and shows her personality-outrageous, wacky, fun. The clothes must not look expensive to remind the viewer Rita is working class. However, as the play wears on and we see Rita change, her clothing style must begin to change too and become slowly more typical of a middle class person. For example, in Act 2 Scene 1, she must be wearing less outrageous clothes but the clothes must still be quite cheap. We can tell this is what Willy Russell intended in this scene because there is a stage direction echoing the above: "(Rita bursts through the door. She is dressed in new, second hand clothes)"(Act 2, Scene 1) Towards the end I would like her to wear quite sophisticated clothing-maybe start wearing suits and more expensive clothes. This shows her progression as a person from an innocent, wonderful person who isn't afraid to show herself for what she is but who is uneducated and simple, to a middle class, intelligent woman who is in fashion and aware of how other people dress and thinks about what other people think of her. On the other hand, the opposite should happen to Frank. At the beginning I would like him to dress well and as a middle class gentleman, for example in suits and ties. Then, when Rita starts to dress better, he must gradually get worst, until towards the end Rita is dressing better than him. This shows the audience that Frank is still living very much in the past, he wants the old Rita back, and shows Rita has become cleverer than Frank in a way. ...read more.


In making Rita get quite depressed and nearly fail at some points we see how strongly the audience wills her on. He also wants to show a person can be different from the norm and break down barriers between the middle classes and working classes by destroying all prejudices. My staging illustrates this by showing how Rita and Frank can be very intimate and close despite their relationship being a purely platonic one. By managing to show how much mutual understanding and love there is between them I fulfil Russell's intention. Furthermore, he wishes to show the way of life for working class people. This is one of the most important intentions for him because he lived the life of a working class person for most of his childhood; he knows what it is like. I have to show the audience this, by really making the actress playing Rita emphasize what a life it is. She must portray it to the middle class audience as a bad life, which no one would want to live, whilst also associating with the working class in the audience by almost looking for agreement and not being too harsh on working class life. I am looking for the audience to view working class,life with compassion and understanding. I hope to have achieved this in my staging of 'Educating Rita' This is how I would stage a production of Educating Rita, using all the things I have mentioned above. This will enable me to produce a good play that reflects the intentions of Russell himself by following the script carefully and making the play come to life. By making use of scenery, stage layout, costume and lighting, I feel I bring educating Rita to life for the audience and let them see what Russell intended. Russell wanted the play to be comical and appeal to both middle class and working class people, with plenty of jokes and fine timing. By doing the above things, I feel I am reflecting what Russell intended for his play. (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((( ...read more.

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