Saturday, April 28, 2012

Play: Educating Rita

Willy Russell, inspired by reaction to literature in his evening classes, put together a phenomenally entertaining and thought-provoking play. Educating Rita is about a 26-year-old married but childless hair stylist who arranged for a literature tutor to help her prepare for her finals. She is loud, uncultured, opinionated but passionate about being educated so that she can feel accomplished. The tutor has a drinking problem, is dispassionate and disillusioned about life but the life forces in Rita (actually "Susan" but she takes on the new persona as part of her intended makeover) spark him onward as well as fuel her pursuit for understanding literature.

After approximately a year has passed and Rita has triumphantly passed her exams, her loud, overly punctuated uneducated sentences have been replaced by a calm educated demeanor. She no longer approaches literature subjectively, or even life for that matter. The tables have turned, however, and her drinking tutor has been dismissed for drunken infractions. He has become loud, subjective and directionless with his life. The play closes with him asking Rita if she would like to join him in his two-years of "sabbatical" in Australia. Susan, aka Rita, says, "Well, I will think about it, but I don't know. You see, now I have choices."

Such a profound conclusion. The educated woman has choices!

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