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Cosi

In: English and Literature

Submitted By donnanicholls
Words 3002
Pages 13
Personal Transformation * LEWIS (TECHNIQUE: Dialogue, stage direction, relationship with other characters?) 1. The character of Lewis significantly grows in the play. 2. At the beginning of the play, Lewis lacks any direction or creative vision and merely just participates as he ‘needs the money.’ At this point, Lewis is still influenced by the ideals of his roommates Lucy and Nick, thus suggests that “Love is not so important nowadays.” 3. “They’re mad. Its madness...” Shows ignorant view of mental patients. The use of dialogue in the play conveys Lewis progression and personal transformation. 4. A sign of his progression is seen in his development of relationships with the patients, i.e. Julie? Kissing her passionately and stuff. 5. Dialogue creates tension during Lewis’ altercation with Lucy where she forces him to choose between Cosi or Moratorium committee, Lewis chooses Cosi, “Mozart. I’m not going to let them down.”
“Its about important things - like love and fidelity.”
Major moments in the play that regard Lewis : “That’s why she spends so much time in the toilets... Its where she smokes.” “From today, I’m also in the play.” Lewis playing Ferrando as Doug’s replacement Persuading Henry to stay, building trust in Henry... They’re on common grounds, “I’m not letting you walk out on us. You’ll have to hit me to get out.” Encouraging Roy to maintain his role in the play, “I can’t remember my lines. Not one. Gone.”

* HENRY
Henry also made a great personal transformation in the play. Former ex-lawyer is a “(bit) shy the old Henry,” as expressed by social worker Justin, which is emphasised by the use of stage directions which give information about the character’s behaviour, [Henry Enters. He is very quiet and never looks anyone in the eye]. Consequently the audience perceives Henry as one who lacks self confidence and a ‘voice.’ Nowra effectively uses characterisation to develop Henry’s character, for example the use of symbols, which are the toy soldiers Henry carries with him.
Toy soldiers suggest Henry as relatively calm and innocent, however it is later confirmed in his altercation with Nick, that the toy soldiers are representative of his passion and pride towards War and patriotism.
Henry points at Nick and asks if he “...supports the communists?” with strong hand gestures that shock the audience as they come to the realisation he is opinionated.
Their opposing views on politics develop tension, which creates shock as we become aware of Henry’s opinionated manner, signifying his personal transformation. This is confirmed when Henry ‘grabs him in a bear hug’ as he intends to physically harm him. The use of conflict creates an exciting energy on stage and allows the audience to become of aware of Henry’s personal transformation.
Clashing Perspectives – Love and Fidelity (Characterisation creates tension on stage)
Through characterisation, Louis Nowra has developed characters that offer differing opinions towards love and fidelity, which allows for a more comprehensive view on the subject.
Cherry’s character for example, believes in love and fidelity by total possession of an individual, which can be seen in her pursuit of Lewis. Her possessive nature is shown through her physicality and the use of dialogue in the play such as when she threatens Julie with a flick knife, “Hey slut, I’m going to fix you once and for all!” The use of black comedy creates tension and excites laughter in the audience, which enhances her perspective of love.

The pyromaniac Doug conveys an opposing view of love and fidelity, which is the issue of free love. Through farce used in the dialogue, his sexually obnoxious personality is developed. For example, “You get to fuck the actresses?” The use of sexual innuendo shocks the audience and creates humour, which provokes thought on his perspective of love. By continually lighting fires at the expense of the rehearsals, Doug’s physicality also enhances his perception of love by showing the audience his lack of regard for others and selfishness.

The play’s protagonist Lewis believes in loyalty and commitment in a relationship, “Without love the world wouldn’t mean much.” Whereas his roommate Nick a young radical protester of war, is more concerned about politics than love and fidelity, “Only mad people in this day and age would do a work on love and infidelity.” The use of characterisation offers contrasting views to love and fidelity, which increases tension between the characters, increasing energy on stage that enhances the theme of love and fidelity.

Play Within a Play – Love and Fidelity
“Kill me with your sword now!”
“I will compensate your heart with love and fidelity.”
“Women’s constancy is like the Arabian Phoenix, everyone swears it exists but no ones ever seen it.”

Another important aspect of the play that portrays the theme of love and fidelity is the ‘play within a play,’ the Mozart opera ‘Cosi fan tutte.’ It expresses the fragility of love and fidelity, and by using melodrama; Nowra enhances the theme of love and fidelity. A quote from the play is representative of this, “Women’s constancy is like the Arabian phoenix, everyone swears it exists but no one has seen it.” The dialogue in ‘Cosi fan tutte’ is much more poetic than the modern realistic voices of the patients in real life. The juxtaposition of two styles of theatre creates humour, which enhances the theme of love and fidelity and develops a much more insightful view of it.

Issues of mental illness
ROY AND THE MESMER MAGNET (WE CONCERNED)
In ‘Cosi’ the playwright Louis Nowra criticises the nature of treating mental illness in the 1970’s; giving a thought provoking insight into its condition, having experienced it as an observer himself. During rehearsals Cherry suggests that they use a Mesmer Magnet in the play to demonstrate that love must be ‘hard won.’ Roy then gives in to the proposal and begins to convulse on the stage floor. The use of slapstick comedy creates humour as well as concern for the patient as we consider the chance his behaviour might not be put on. The stage direction indicates that, “Lewis is concerned” and as an audience we share this concern and thus gain a greater insight of the harmful effects of treatment.
(ZAC THE PIANIST)
Nowra also conveys the neglect of mental institutes in their treatment of patients with psychotic drugs. This is notably seen in Zac the musician in the asylum. At one point in rehearsals he yells out on impulse, to no one in particular “Alright, I’ll get The Electronic Prunes album.” Through dialogue, Zac’s character is developed as impulsive and unreliable when under the influence of psychotic drugs, falling in and out of consciousness at intervals. Drugs even harm him to the extent that he cannot contribute to the performance of the play as he passes out from excessive drug consumption.
Zac “On a much lower dosage” Shows how drugs can control the lives of the mental patients, creating empathy da da da da.
“Oh. [A beat] Why?” The beat in the dialogue highlights Zac’s lack of thought process and control over human behaviour, due to drugs of course.
(MORE THERAPEUTIC)
The undercurrent idea of the play is that the rehearsals undertaken by the patients prove to be even more therapeutic than the methods of treatment applied by the asylum. Through rehearsals each of the characters begin to ‘come out of their shells’ and open up about their issues. For instance, Ruth’s character addresses her traumatic past with her ex boyfriend, “I used to have a boyfriend who tied me up and put me in a wardrobe... and tell me he’d kill me if I ran away.” Dramatic monologues reveal details of the character’s condition to the audience, creating empathy towards their condition and a greater understanding of the characters.
OKAY SO RUTH IS OBSESSIVE BECAUSE SHE DONT WANNA FUCK UP, HUSBAND ALWAYS ABUSED HER. THE END.
Marginalisation
From the onset of the play, the audience is confronted with the marginalised world experienced by mental patients in society. As the audience peeks through the fourth wall the stage appears black with the lack of lighting creating a world misunderstood by the characters Lewis, Lucy and Nick as they try find a light. Lighting creates suspense.
QUOTES:
Lewis
“Love is not so important nowadays.”
“Why can’t I ever say no? Just leave” [But he knows he wont leave]
“That’s why she spends so much time in the toilets... It’s where she smokes.”
“Can’t do that either. I got special permission to rehearse Cosi, after they have dinner.”
“Mozart. I’m not going to let them down.”
“Without love the world wouldn’t mean much.”
“Women’s constancy is like the Arabian Phoenix. Everyone swears it exists but no one has seen it.”
“Go burn a cat.”
Roy
“It’s an easy language. Ask any Italian.”
“We’ll be like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin”
“...Let’s aim for the stars”
“All directors are tyrants”
“Couldn’t direct a nymphomaniac to a stag night.”
“Couldn’t direct traffic down a one way street.”
“We choose our enemies with greater care than our lovers.”
“You’re alright Jerry.”
“I can’t remember my lines. Not one. Gone”
Henry
“You support the communist?”
[Roy is stunned to see Henry so aggressive towards him]
“My father fought in the war for you... You are traitors”

Cherry
“Hey slut! I’m going to fix you once and for all!”
“Kiss him again and I’ll break your fuckin’ arm.”

Nick
“They’ve come to take me away... to the funny farm.”
“Only mad people in this day and age would do a work about love and fidelity.”
“That’s it. I’m not putting up with this right wing crap.”

Ruth
“An illusion of reality. A real illusion in other words.”
“How many steps do you want me to take?”

Julie
“Love is hallucinating without drugs”
“He’s the best lay I ever had”
Zac
“Alright I’ll get the Electric Prunes album”
“Is a fuck out of the question?”
“A lower dosage. Its amazing how much bright the world seems”
“I cant stand real things. If I could put up with reality I wouldn’t be here.”
Lucy
“I have sex with him and sleep with you.”
“You’ve mistaken love for lust”
“Do you think the starving masses give a fuck about love?”
Doug
“You get to fuck the actresses?”
“...In here you miss out on a lot of changes in society’s morals”
Justin
“They are normal people”
“ They are normal people who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts”
“They really came out of their shells”
“Where would the world be without social workers”

TECHNIQUES I MUST TALK ABOUT: * Dialogue (Black comedy, sexual innuendo, farce) * Tension (farce creates tension, as does stage direction, slapstick and other types comedy) * Slapstick comedy * Stage Direction * Lighting * Use of set – Burnt out theatre, water dripping from ceiling, inefficiency of theatre (blackout) * Entrances and exits (Henry screaming and yelling at the end). * Conflict * Characterisation * Play within a play (Dramatic illusion, what you hear and see on stage is an illusion, a character trying to pretend to be something their not. The play within a play emphasises this by having a character uncomfortable and confused with being something she’s not?) * Fourth wall * Soliloquy (speech made by character when he is alone) * Aside * Farce (doesn’t deal with any serious situations and doesn’t explore any ideas) * Flat and Round Characters

These qualities include physical attributes, moral, psychological and emotional dispositions, their attitude towards other characters and situations, and so on. At the point of conceptualization of the idea he wants to present in his play, he thinks of the best way to present it to make it interesting and at the same time informative. He builds this idea into a story form and thinks of the type of characters that can tell this story effectively. So he uses the characters to explicate his theme and propel the plot, His ability to craft the play in such a way that each character blends well in the plot is called characterization. These characters are presented and they develop in the course of the action. In most cases, the characters grow from innocence to maturity or from ignorance to knowledge. They also change according to situations and events. When this is done, the characters are referred to as round characters.
In Arms and the Man for instance, Raina grows from innocence to maturity in the course of the play. You will recall that at the beginning of the play, Raina is very romantic and full of fantasy first about Sergius and later about her Chocolate Cream Soldier. Her understanding of love is very shallow. By the end of the play, she realizes the difference between reality and fantasy as she marries Captain Bluntschli. On his own part, Sergius realizes his ignorance of the military and also the need to marry for love and not for position. The important elements in characterization are consistency and motivation. A good playwright must craft his play in such a way that his characters are consistent. You don’t expect a character to behave like an educated young woman in the opening scene and in the following acts like an illiterate village girl. This could happen if there is a proper motivation for that. For example, if she is pretending to be what she is not in order to obtain some information, get something or to escape from danger. Motivation in characterization means that there must be a good reason for any action that is taken by every character in the play. What is the reason for Captain Bluntschli’s flight from the battlefield? A soldier who is paid to fight cannot just run away like that. He runs away because they do not have ammunition, he cannot fight with his bare hand so he runs away to save his life. The characters are the persons, in the play. They are endowed with moral and dispositional qualities that are expressed in their dialogues and in their action. The reason or grounds for action, temperament and moral dispositions constitute his motivations. They act out the story of the play from the beginning to the end. They act within the limits of possibility and plausibility. This means that they and their actions should be as close as possible to reality. The playwright therefore
46
ENG162 ELEMENTS OF DRAMA Creates a story that is credible for them to act. However, in an allegorical play, each character acts within the limits of what it represents. Each playwright, depending on his style, chooses how to develop his characters. This brings us to a discussion on characters.
3.2 Character Analysis
The ability to create characters and to ensure that they blend/suit the action of the play is what we refer to as characterization. What is created is called character. Characters refer to the people who act the play. Drama is the most active form of literary art and is presented in dialogue. It is not like the novel or poetry where the novelist tells a story. The story in a play is told as people talk to one another and interact in inter-personal relationships. These people are referred to as characters. Characters in a play must not necessarily be human beings. Animals or things can be used as characters. This depends on the intention of the playwright and the style he wants to adopt. In allegorical plays like Tess Onwueme’s
The Desert Encroaches or Everyman, a medieval play, animals and abstract qualities are used as character In the play, you can identify each character through his name, through what he says, what he does, what other characters say about him and what the playwright says about him. The playwright’s comment is contained in the stage direction. The stage direction is usually enclosed in a bracket and in most cases written in italics. You can find it at the beginning of the scene or at any point in the play whenever the playwright want to give information about the character, his action, the environment, the mood or any other information that is relevant to the action and which is not embedded in the dialogue.
Characterization is a very important aspect of dramatic technique. It isthrough it that the dramatist presents his story. A good story can only bereally good and interesting if appropriate characters are created to tellthe story through their actions. The playwright tries to create charactersthat are as close as possible to reality. He ensures that the characters areconsistent and are properly motivated.
3.4 Characterization
Characters are the persons in a dramatic work. The playwright endowsthem with moral and dispositional qualities which are expressed (asdiscussed earlier in Module 2 Unit 1) in their words and actions. Thereasons for the character’s action, his speech, his temperament constitutehis motivation. In textual analysis, one could evaluate the character though the stage direction where some playwrights have somecomments on the character’s disposition, his age, his physical attributes,his mode of dressing and other information that could be found there.The next thing is to evaluate his interactions with other charactersthrough which you discover whether he is a flat or round character. Aflat character remains unchanged in his outlook and dispositions fromthe beginning to the end but a round character could undergo a gradualor radical change which is brought about by events in the play. It isdifficult to predict the actions of a round character because he is usuallyvery close to real human beings.Anything you write about a character must be contained in the text. Youshould therefore not infer, guess or suggest a characteristic moraldisposition or physical attribute that cannot be identified in the text. For instance, you can rightly say that Baroka in
The Lion and the Jewel is acrafty rogue who excels in self-indulgence. One of the characters saidthat about him and his action too in the scene where his current wife is pulling the hairs in his armpit and also in his seduction of Sidi. We haveanalysed the plays that are recommended for this course in subsequentunits and we discussed some of the characters

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Senilità Italo Svevo

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