Arts & Entertainment

Educating Rita

An 80s classic, Educating Rita, both the stage play and film adaptions won numerous awards at the time.

It’s a play for two actors, set in an office in an open university. Written by playwright Willy Russell, it explores the relationship between working class hairdresser, Rita, who is trying to better herself through education and Frank, a middle aged university professor. The two are from completely different worlds, but end up having a profound impact upon one another.

In a role made famous by Julie Walters, Emily McGowan is up to the challenge of playing Rita.

“I think I feel a lot of weight to do her justice as well to do the script justice”, she says.

It seems the production has chosen to stay true to the script, going into fine detail to create a set that is reminiscent of the 80s.

But times have changed since this play was written, and education is no longer a guarantee of social class position.

“With education comes choice, when you are educated you understand the choices as well, and that’s where her [Rita] and her family have been limited in the past…. they don’t understand the other options out there” says McGowan.

For young people seeing the play for the first time, McGowan hopes they will feel empowered to be able to make decisions.

“They are in that stage where they are thinking about education, and making choices which will have a big impact on the rest of their life…. to think about how education might help them or not help them.”

Until May 20. Various performance times. The Depot Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville. $22-$32. Tickets & Info: www.thedepottheatre.com 

By Vanessa Powell

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