Read the opening of the play. In what ways is this a good introduction to the play's main characters and themes? Do you think that Willy Russell has made his opening dramatic and entertaining?
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Title: Read the opening of the play. In what ways is this a good introduction to the play's main characters and themes? Do you think that Willy Russell has made his opening dramatic and entertaining? Educating Rita is a play set in Liverpool in the 1970's, Willy Russell tells the story of a twenty six year old working as a hairdresser called Rita White. Rita is trying to "discover" herself and she wants to achieve this by getting herself an education. She arrives at an open university, where she meets her tutor Frank. Frank has a very dismissive attitude towards his students, but over whelmed and flattered by Rita's differences and individuality, in both social class and behaviour, he doesn't treat her like the other students, but has a keen interest in her. Over time of attending Frank's tutorials and lectures, Rita gradually progresses building up the education she longed for. After passing her exams with a much deserved distinction, she finally feels that she has discovered herself and has come to fully understand herself. In this essay I will analyse to see whether the opening of the play is a good introduction to the main characters and themes, also if Willy Russell has made a dramatic and entertaining opening. All information about the characters and themes of the play come from the visual clue and dialogue.
We see this by his drinking habit, which persists and doesn't improve, by which this tendency of Frank's, causes him to turn up to tutorials and lectures under the influence of alcohol. Frank having no determination in own life makes him a sluggish and neglectful person and he keeps himself happy by constantly drinking, possibly indicating his life's going downhill, thus making him fell lost or helpless ands so gives up, wondering into the habits of drinking to drown out his sorrows. This option he knows very well is not good for him, even Rita being uneducated knows that excessive drink is bad for the body as he tell his so, "Y' wanna be careful with that stuff it kills y' brain cells". The lack of sorting out such big problems goes alongside the sorting of even smaller simpler problems. A good example would be Franks office door handle. Rita when arrives, is trying to enter franks room only to find it harder than it seems. She finally gets the door open and stumbles in saying, "I'm comin' in, aren't I? Its that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed". Franks in turn replies, "Erm - yes, I suppose o always mean to..." this reply of Franks emphasizes how he always intends to do things, but never get round to actually doing it. Once again it shows lack of botheration, leading to why frank has such a dismissive attitude toward his students whom arrive eager to learn.
The most obvious example would be when we see Rita explaining how so many pensioners come into the salon to be changed and she tries to explain that changes happen inside not by the looks. She also complains that the pensioners don't tell her that they have a hearing aid leading to a few deaf old ladies. "A pensioner'll come in an' she wont telly' that's she's got a hearin' aid: so y' start chuttin' don't ya'? Next thing - Snip - another granny deaf for a fortnight." She continues to explain, " I'm always cuttin' hearin' aid cords an' ear lobes." This particular quotes theme is humour; we understand what she does is by a simple accident and very much unintentional, but yet it remains funny and entertaining by the thought of such an incident. We also see frank creating humour, this would be when Rita asks him if he likes the window, Frank replys, "I sometimes get the urge to throw something through it. A student usually" Although this being an entertaining joke adding to the theme of humour, we could take it onto the serious side and say it has a connection to why Frank has such a dismissive attitude towards his students. Overall I think Willy Russell has made a very good opening to all of the themes, by them appearing in the very first scene in one way or another. This makes the play gripping from the very beginning, which keeps hold of the reader's interest.
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