Achieving Humor in Educating Rita by Willy Russell

1095 Words Jun 17th, 2018 5 Pages
Achieving Humor in Educating Rita by Willy Russell

Written by Willy Russell in 1985, "Educating Rita" is a comical interpretation of his own life as a young Liverpudlian hairdresser and his aspirations to become educated. The play is based on Rita, the hairdresser who wants a better life, and begins this adventure by enrolling in an Open University course. It is here she meets her tutor, Frank. You could say, the key to her dreams. If I were to direct this play, I would seek to achieve humour for an audience by exploring the different aspects of comedy; comedy of character, comedy of situation, comedy of misunderstanding and comedy of language.

There are many examples of comedy of character in this play, especially as
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Rita also uses a lot of 'working class' jokes that
Frank does not understand. Russell uses this as an opportunity to show that Rita isn't stupid, she's just not as smart academically.

A key aspect of comedy in this play is comedy of language. Russell uses it many times, such as to highlight Rita's background.

"Rita:

I do it to shock them sometimes. Y'know when I'm in the hairdressers - that's where I work - I'll say somethin' like, 'Oh, I'm really fucked', y'know, dead loud. It doesn't half cause a fuss.

Frank:

Yes - I'm sure"

In the above example, Russell shows that Rita was brought up to use crude language, and uses it to amuse herself when in the company of people of a higher class as she finds their reactions funny! Frank is shocked at Rita's choice of language and if I was directing this piece, Frank would struggle to reply. The audience would find it shocking as you wouldn't usually swear in an interview situation where you want to make a good impression.

The use of language as comedy in this play usually involves swearing.
Another example is when Frank is drunk and his language deteriorates dramatically. "Sod them - no, fuck them!" This shows how similar Frank and Rita can be no matter how well educated of high class Frank is. In order to maximise humour, Frank would be excessive and over the top to show the
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