Educating Rita

Definition

Theater

  • A popular comedy by the Liverpool playwright Willy Russell. Educating Rita opened in 1980 at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre and transferred later that year to the Piccadilly Theatre, where it enjoyed a record run.

    The play has only two characters: Rita, a bright but uneducatedhairdresser with a desire to widen her horizons, and her Open UniversityEnglish-literature tutor Frank, a cynical 50-year-old who has failedin his ambition to become a poet. Their tutorial sessions result inRita leaving her husband and finding a better job; however, her newindependence drives Frank to even heavier drinking and he is 'banished'by his university to a two-year teaching assignment in Australia.Before he departs, Rita's last act is to snip off his unruly locksof hair.

    Russell later adapted the play for the cinema; the film version(1983) starred Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

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