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In what ways is Educating Rita effective as a play?

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Introduction

In what ways is "Educating Rita" effective as a play? 'Educating Rita" is dramatically effective in many ways. It is also recognised as an exceptional play; it was voted "Best comedy of the year" when performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980, and just three years after release, it had become the fourth most popular play in Britain. There are obviously factors which make it so effective, and I intend to explore these factors. Throughout the play, there are only two characters: this is known as a two-hander. Other characters are only mentioned in the play, but in the film have been cast as parts. It worked well for the film, but I think it lost the closeness which plays such an important part in the theatre. Some people would find this to be tedious, but I think it adds to the intensity and intimacy between the audience and the characters. There is a focus on the two characters which means that the audience can appreciate the relationship between Rita and Frank which is emphasised more than it would be with other characters, and would notice any subtle changes that occur in the play. ...read more.

Middle

Frank is glancing at his watch and is clearly agitated - we can see that Rita is late and we wonder if she might not be coming. He then notices the door handle being turned and, thinking that she is stuck on the other side of the door, he opens it for her and discovers her on the other side with an oilcan, oiling the handle. This shows her outgoing, confident personality, and also her shrewdness: from just one meeting, she knows enough about Frank to realise that he wouldn't have fixed the door since last week. In the second act, the scenes tend to finish more with poignant moments, such as the conversations Frank and Rita had at the end of Act II, Scene 4: - "I understand now, Frank; I know the difference between-between-Somerset Maugham an' Harold Robbins. An' you're still treating me as though I'm hung up on 'Rubyfruit Jungle'. Just... You understand, don't you Frank?" - "Entirely, my dear." - "I'm sorry." - "Not at all. I got around to reading it, you know, 'Rubyfruit Jungle. It's excellent." - "Oh go way, Frank. Of its type it's quite interesting. ...read more.

Conclusion

In criticism sentiment has no place. Rita's speech is colloquial, informal, but very lively, vibrant and entertaining: RITA It's crap because the feller who wrote it was a louse. Because halfway through that book I couldn't go on reading it because he, Mr Bleedin' E. M. Forster says, quote "We are not concerned with the poor" unquote. That's why it's crap. And that's why I didn't go on reading it, that's why. As the play progresses, the speech reverses as Rita picks up expressions and the language for discussing literature and literary criticism, and Frank's speech becomes more informal when he is talking to Rita. We do not know whether he uses the same speech for talking to others, as we only see him with Rita. A good example of this is when Rita is discussing Frank's poetry: FRANK Just think if I'd let you see it when you first came here. RITA I know. . . I wouldn't have understood it, Frank. FRANK You would have thrown it across the room and dismissed it as a piece of shit, wouldn't you? RITA I know. . . But I couldn't have understood it then, Frank, because I wouldn't have been able to recognise and understand the allusions. All these points make 'Educating Rita' dramatically effective as a play. Catherine Young, 10RR ...read more.

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