Act One Scene One of Educating Rita
Read Act 1, Scene 1 and explain whether you think it is an effective
way to start the play. Comment on:
How Russell introduces the characters and themes.
How he makes the scene dramatic and entertaining.
Russell uses an effective way to start the play. It is effective
because we find out that Frank is alcohol dependent and he is lazy by
not getting the door fixed. Russell faces many problems when trying to
introduce his play such as showing Franks alcohol dependency, Rita
striving for a change, showing relationships between Frank and Rita,
Frank and Julia and Rita and Denny.
A telephone call tells us that Frank has a partner. The telephone
tells us that Frank and Julia do not get on very well. The advantage
of a telephone call is that it tells us that Frank has a partner in an
easy way. At the start of the play we see Frank looking for alcohol
behind books of the self. Russell making Frank look for alcohol behind
books shows to us that he is an alcoholic and also telling his partner
Julia that he is going to the pub afterwards. Russell would have found
it hard found it difficult to show that Frank and Rita are from to
different social backgrounds and setting the scene is a problem that
was also faced by Russell as well.
When Frank is looking for alcohol behind books he can not remember
where he had hidden the bottle of whiskey which indicates that he
might have been drinking before. “Where the hell…? Eliot?” When he
remembers where he has hidden the whiskey he is very happy.
“Jubilantly.” This visual clue shows the extent of Frank’s alcoholism.
Franks “pours himself a large slug into the mug.” People drink in
small glasses because it is very strong.
When Rita mentions “Flora,” Frank thinks she means the Latin word for
“Flowers” but she means the brand of margarine. The misunderstanding
between them is the source of much of the humour in the scene.
Rita tries to show that she is aware of art by talking about the
painting on the wall, but she does so in very direct terms, which
startles Frank such as when Rita says “erotic” and “tits”. Rita
further shows her directness by referring to the Open University as
“degrees for dishwashers”.
Russell brings humour into the play before anyone says a word. We
think that Frank is...