The play Educating Rita was written in the 1980s by Willy Russell. The play is about Rita who is poor working glass girl. She lives on a council estate in Liverpool with her partner Denny. Rita has no education.
It was believed back then, that only the rich could go to university. And the poor should just settle down and have a baby. It was also believed that the Open University degrees were a lot less prestigious than a normal degree " degrees for dishwashers" as Rita points out to Frank. The opening scenes in a play are very important because it introduces us to all the main characters.
It lets us know a little about the background of the characters. It also introduces some of the main themes for the play. But the thing that is most important is that it has to be interesting. The play starts off with Frank on the phone, we presume it is his wife or girlfriend because he tells her she shouldn't of prepared tea because he has a open university lecture and then he will have to go down the pub after "I shall need to wash away the memory of some silly women's attempts to get into the mind of Henry James".This shows that Frank's preconceptions of Rita are that she is a "silly women" without meeting her.
Frank is still on the phone when there is a knock at the door he shouts, "come in", he places down the phone, and shouts "come in" again suddenly Rita bursts threw the door and says " I'm coming' in, aren't I? It's that stupid bleedin handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed". "erm - yes, I suppose I always mean to". Russell shows us here that Rita is a very loud and vibrant person who has a lot of confidence.
But we find out later that it is all just a show and that Rita isn't a confident person. Some people believe it is symbolic that Rita cant get into Franks room because she wants to learn literature and to learn literature and she needs to get into Franks world to learn literature and she can't get into Franks room. We can see straight away that Russell has shown that Rita uses a lot of slang words where as Frank speaks with Standard English.Frank asks Rita why her application letter is signed miss S. White and she reveals that her name is Susan and she calls her self Rita after Rita Mae Brown who wrote Rubyfruitjungle, this shows that Rita is insecure. Rubyfruitjungle is considered not literature.
Rita contradicts herself because she takes the Mickey out of people who speak with a posh accent and then later on in the play she speaks with a posh accent and she says to Frank: "Trish says why speak beautiful literature with a horrible voice". Right at the end of act 1 scene 1 Frank tell Rita he doesn't want to teach her and Rita Wait a minute listen to me, im on this course, you're my teacher and your gonna bleedin teach me"."There are other teachers". "You're my tutor. I don't want another tutor".
This shows that Rita has taken a liking to Frank right from the start. Frank doesn't want to teach Rita because he thinks she is perfect the way she is. ""I think you're marvellous. Do you know, I think you're the first breath of fresh air that's been in this room for years". The reason Frank likes Rita so much is that she is totally different to any other student he has ever had.
And in ways they are very similar people but in other ways they are totally different people. Rita is a very funny person b7ut she doesn't mean to be. " Look at those tits" referring to a paint on Franks wall. Whereas Franks jokes are more witty. "I sometimes get the urge to throw something through it" "What" A student usually".
They both dislike their jobs. But Rita dislikes her job because she thinks she can do better the frank would just rather be down the pub. They are both from different cultures, "You wouldn't watch ITV would y? Its all BBC with you isn't it?As Rita says to Frank. After Rita has been to summer school Frank get very disheartened because Rita has come back a very different person and she has done William Blake which Frank wanted to teach her. There relationship rocks at this point and Rita stops going to Frank's tutorials.
She thinks she is complete now that she is educated and she thinks she will be happy just cause she has an education. But this is very wrong and she finds out when Trish her best friend tries to commit suicide. Rita always thought that Trish had every thing she wanted, she was educated and had a good job.This showed Rita that an education doesn't bring happiness. All the way through the play we think Rita and Frank are going to get together and become an item, we think this up to the very last scene where Frank moves to Australia to write poetry.
Russell keeps us thinking that they are going to get together so we stay interested in the play and we are disappointed when they don't, because every one likes a happy ending. After he tells Rita that he is moving to Australia she says "Im going to take years of you" we think this is going to be a sexual act but she just gives him a haircut.