June 12, 2021

Educating not only Rita 1

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The Cayman Drama Society’s (CDS) latest production is the very well known, Willy Russell’s, “Educating Rita”.

In the CDS’s synopsis of the play it says “Frank is a tutor of English in his fifties whose disillusioned outlook on life drives him to drink and bury himself in his books. Enter Rita, a forthright 26-year-old hairdresser who is eager to learn. After weeks of cajoling, Rita slowly wins over the very hesitant Frank with her innate insight and refusal to accept no for an answer. Their relationship as teacher and student blossoms, ultimately giving Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves. The play became a hit film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters.”

The play was first staged at The Warehouse, London, in June 1980 starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston.

This is the second time“Educating Rita” has been staged in Cayman. I believed it was a production of the CDS, as I did see it performed in The Harquail Workshop Theatre, but could not find it in the CDS list of productions. It, therefore, had to be production by the CNCF.

Maybe someone can confirm this? I remember the late Clive Munyard played the part of Frank.

This latest production stars Adam Roberts as Frank and Soraya Moghadass as Rita.

My title that includes the word ‘only’ is because the Director Fay Anne De Freitas, the Producer Liam Oko and the Stage Manager Laura McCauley, each had an education themselves. All three had never filled those difficult positions before.

How did they do. They all passed with honors.

As for the two actors?

SUPERB! They were like tow peas in the same pod but with very different markings. By that I mean personalities. Very similar to Pygmalion aka My Fair Lady. The actors fed off one another with a bond seldom found in amateur dramatics. I was totally enthralled.

After speaking to both of them after the performance, which actually was a Dress Rehearsal, they told me they had been itching to perform Educating Rita for over two years. In fact before Fay Anne took over as director there had been two others assigned to the job. Due to circumstances beyond their control both had to resign. Fay Anne only had five weeks to direct the two actors and she said she was lucky in her first outing to have a very small cast and two fine cast members.

Both Adam and Soraya admitted this play was the hardest they had ever had to perform. The two roles each had so many lines to learn and they had to be very quick to answer each other otherwise the play would have dragged.

If you haven’t seen Educating Rita and note it is billed as a comedy you should take note it is very far from being a farce.

The writer, Willy Russell has written a masterpiece. It is different from the film version. Yes, it has its laughs but it also shows England’s class system and the shortcomings of institutional education.

Rita want to better herself and Frank is unhappy with himself and is bitter and cynical at his failure to become a recognised and revered poet. He tries to drown himself in drink. Rita realises at the end of the play although she has become a new person, an academic, life for her hasn’t really changed. As Wikipedia puts it, “her new social niche is rife with the same dishonesty and superficiality she had previously sought to escape.”

Even if you have seen Educating Rita I urge you to relive the experience again. Live theatre is always different from a movie version and different actors play the same parts in different ways.

I can assure you you will be enthralled with the performances of the two leads.

You will certainly be educated.

The CDS recommend this at a PG due to mild adult themes and alcohol references.

  • Adult for CI$25.00
  • Student for CI$15.00
Start Date24 Jan, 2019
End Date02 Feb, 2019
LocationProspect Playhouse
Start Time7:30 PM
End Time9:30 PM

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