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Educating Rita

Educating Rita
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Willy Russell
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 58
Pub. Date: 1981
ISBN-10: 0573619980
ISBN-13: 9780573619984
Cast Size: 1 woman, 1 man

About the Play:

Educating Rita was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Educating Rita is a full length comedy by Willy Russell. A poignant and hilarious play about a working class Liverpool girl's hunger for education. Much to the dismay of her husband Denny, Rita, a young, brash hairdresser, has recently discovered a passion for English literature and enrols with the Open University. Her fresh, unschooled reaction to the classics challenges the attitudes of the University and her lecturer Frank who begins to question his own understanding of his work and himself.

Educating Rita is a contemporary Pygmalion-tinged comedy about a hairdresser and her weary professor. Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 26 year-old hairdresser who is eager to learn and hungry to find some meaning to life. With Frank as her tutor Rita embarks on an Open University course and her education process begins. After weeks of cajoling, Rita slowly wins over the very hesitant Frank with her innate insight and refusal to accept no for an answer. The effects are both amusing and serious as her fresh, intuitive approach becomes clouded and stifled as she grapples with the problem of a formal education. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves.

Educating Rita was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and premiered in 1980 at the RSC Warehouse (now Donmar Warehouse) in London and won the SWET award for Best Comedy of the Year. It was subsequently made into a highly successful film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters and won the 1983 BAFTA award for Best Film.

Cast: 1 woman, 1 man

What people say:

"One way of describing Educating Rita would be to say that it was about the meaning of education ... Another would be to say that it was about the meaning of life. A third, that it is a cross between Pygmailion and Lucky Jim. A fourth, that it is simply a marvellous play, painfully funny and passionately serious; a hilarious social documentary; a fairy-tale with a quizzical, half-happy ending.." — Sunday Times (London)

"Warmly written... It is the interchange of feeling and realization of new approaches to life on both sides that make this play of particular interest." — London Telegraph

"A marvellous play, painfully funny and passionately serious; a hilarious social documentary; a fairy tale with a quizzical, half happy ending." — The Times (London )

"Russell's deft two-hander has as much to say about education, art and power and it does about class." — The Herald (London )

About the Playwright:

Willy Russell is one of the most successful English playwrights of his generation. He is best known for Blood Brothers, Educating Rita, and Shirley Valentine. One of the longest-running musicals in London's West End, Blood Brothers won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical in 1983, and its 1988 production is still running. Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine were both awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, in 1980 and 1988 respectively. Both plays were made into successful films and are in constant production throughout the world.

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