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 Nov 2008
The Course of Life

What happens when a young and lively woman hairdresser with a strong tendency to swearing enrols in an Open University course to learn objective literary criticism? Will her "dead serious" determination be enough to carry her through? And what happens if her tutor, a literature professor in his early fifties, turns out to be a disillusioned alcoholic with no ideals left in his life? When will he lose his patience with his new and non-stop talking student?
This is the opening scene in the play "Educating Rita", written by Willy Russell in 1981 and performed in Innsbruck by the International Theatre of Vienna. The performance of Roxanne Carless as Rita is thoroughly convincing and especially entertaining. Jack Babb plays the role of Frank confidently, but does not exert such strong presence on stage. He clearly remains in the background, despite his ironic and funny remarks. In this way he succeeds in underlining the stark contrast between the two very different personalities of Frank and Rita.
The result is a highly enjoyable stage play including witty dialogue with deeper meaning. It gets us to remember our own experience with education, while it challenges rigid opinions and prejudices. Moreover, the topic couldn't be more relevant today as it deals with superficial consumerism, on the one hand, and the search for real happiness, on the other.

Johanna Pichler
Kulturkunde UK


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