May/December romance plays out in ‘Educating Rita’

Rita (Meghan Andrews) gets inspiration from her tutor Frank (Bjørn Johnson) in ‘Educating Rita’ at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. Photo/Ken Jacques

By Diana Saenger

The story of a university lecturer who takes on a young woman to tutor becomes a journey of revelation for both of them in “Educating Rita,” which opens the North Coast Repertory Theatre’s 2013 season. Rosina Reynolds directs the play by Willy Russell, on stage through Feb. 3.

Although the original script was revised by Russell in 2007 to make it more contemporary, Reynolds said she prefers the original script set in the 1980s. “For a woman of Rita’s class to cut loose from her surroundings was far more significant in the 1980s than it would be now. It was quite something at that time for the community she lived in and for girls her age.”

Meghan Andrews portrays Rita and Bjørn Johnson plays her tutor.

“Frank is a college professor in the south of England,” Reynolds said. “He loved literature and had great aspirations to be a teacher at one time, but he’s disillusioned with the system and his life, and the drink has become more familiar to him now. He drinks to forget the things he hasn’t managed to do.”

Then Rita enters Frank’s life and inspires him.

“She’s not a regular student, she’s a local who is plain speaking … a working-class girl,” Reynolds said. “She left school early and became a hairdresser. Her education was squandered by peer pressure to work, but she has a really curious mind and wants to learn. The dynamic of her coming into Frank’s life shakes him up considerably.”

As revealed on stage and in the 1983 film starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters, there are some dark moments in this story.

“These two people have a dynamic influence on each other, but it’s definitely a May-December relationship, even though they have an energy and passion between them,” Reynolds said.  “Like all relationships, the first act centers on the newness … Frank discovers Rita’s desire for knowledge and his own rediscovery of his passion and ability to teach. By the second act, Rita grows beyond Frank and does not need him as much.”

Educating Rita has often been compared to “Pygmalion.”

“It is similar,” Reynolds said. “Frank and Rita go through a huge arc in their relationship. It’s a very well written play that’s witty and charming with interesting characters who find unlimited potential in each other. That’s what that makes an audience root for them to succeed.”

Related posts:

  1. Socialite plays dangerous game in ‘Miss Julie’ at Rep
  2. San Diego Musical Theatre to present ‘Footloose’
  3. 1881 themes resonate in North Coast Rep’s ‘Ghosts’
  4. Version of ‘Little Women’ to debut at North Coast Rep
  5. Tale of missing relative captivates audiences

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=44341

Posted by Staff on Jan 10, 2013. Filed under Community, Events, Theater. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices honored with Stevie Gold Award
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recently named Startup of the Year in the 2014 American Business Awards, earning the brokerage the Stevie Gold award. The award was presented at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is among a select few organizations to be entrusted with the Berkshire Hathaway name,” co […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe sports update
    Santa Fe Christian lost to Carlsbad 35-7 in a nonleague game on Sept. 12. The Eagles’ only score came in the third quarter, when Matthew McRoskey completed a 54-yard scoring pass to Caleb Phillips. Reece Walker rushed for 50 yards on four carries and Benton Weeks gained 29 rushing yards on 11 carries. […]
  • Red Envelope Friday fundraiser returns to benefit Rancho Santa Fe School
    The Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation’s annual Red Envelope Friday fundraiser returns Sept. 26. All families are encouraged to contribute “Your Share” in support of a world-class education for their children at R. Roger Rowe School during Red Envelope Friday. Making a contribution is easy! On Sept. 26, volunteers will be at drop off and pick up lines at t […]