An Analysis of the Characters of Frank and Rita in the Play Educating Rita

Educating Rita

In this essay, I am going to describe the two main characters, Frank and Rita, and how they change throughout the play. I will also look at how I would stage scenes six and seven including props, characters’ positions, body language, actions, movements, and facial expressions. Educating Rita is a twentieth-century drama about the transformation of Rita, an uneducated, inexperienced, and rather a childish woman who changes into an intelligent and responsible adult. This transformation is supported by Frank her university lecturer who she forms a close relationship with.

This relationship grows as Frank and Rita help each other through life and the problems one another faces.

At the start of the play, Rita is a fairly childish woman in the way she is always in a hurry and is always trying to do everything at once as shown in the stage directions. ‘Rita bursts through the door out of breath. She is quite inexperienced in life and is very excitable about new things.

When Rita first goes to the theatre she was so excited about it that she had to run and tell Frank. “I had to come an’ telly’.”

“I went to the theatre! A proper one” she boasted to Frank. Rita looks up to Frank because he is educated and she wants to be like him, even though he has lots of other problems in his life. As the play goes on she becomes more fascinated with culture and literature. Rita changes, she becomes more intelligent she begins to lose her inner child and seems to grow up a little.

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Although you can still see that she is a child within it is more hidden she turns into the person she always dreamed of being and finally passes her examination.

Frank is Rita’s university lecturer as he guides her through university life they become extremely close. He lives with his partner Julia which is quite a difficult relationship. He already has one failed marriage and to add to his problems he has a drinking problem, which he is struggling to overcome. He doesn’t seem to like his job and once wanted to be a poet which he did quite well. “Why did you stop writing?” asks Rita. Franks’s life is given a glimmer of hope when Rita enters it, without knowing it she helps him look at his life and want to improve it.

He becomes more open-minded to all types of people and learns that he isn’t the only one with problems.

Frank and Rita both change throughout the play, Rita becomes cleverer with the help of Frank. Frank develops a new outlook on life, which is also helped by Rita. Towards the end of the play, Frank and Rita grow apart, I think this is because Rita has changed so much she is a different person. Frank liked the fact that Rita was so young at heart, I think he liked being seen as a father figure to her but now Rita is different and doesn’t need him anymore. Now Rita wants to move on with her life and experience new things she has less time for Frank and he feels unwanted by Rita.

In scene six Rita comes to see Frank and tells him that she has been to see a play, they talk about Macbeth, and Frank explains how it is a tragedy. Before Rita leaves she invites Frank to come to the art gallery with her and Frank invites her to a dinner party. I think the scene should be set in the office with light flooding in through the window, the desk should be facing the window covered in books and papers to show that Franks’s drinking problem has affected his work. At the start of the scene, Rita should explode into the room flushed and out of breath, showing her energy and childlike behavior. As Rita bursts through the door, Frank should spin round in his chair in surprise, looking worried he asks “what are you doing here?” Rita comes up to the desk supporting her weight on her arms in tiredness. Her excitable expression should make the audience relax and realize that she is ok and that she isn’t there because she has a problem.

Once she tells Frank about the play his body language and expression should show that he is relieved that Rita is ok and show that he was worried that there was something wrong with her. As Rita calms down they talk about the play in-depth and as Frank explains some things to Rita he should be smiling because he is proud of her and happy that he has inspired her to go to a play. They should come closer to each other as they talk to show their relationship is growing stronger as they now have something in common. They can now talk about the play in more depth because Rita now understands it because she is more educated. As they talk and eat they should have each other’s full attention and Rita should show that she is fascinated by what Frank is saying, this will show that she still looks up to Frank and is impressed by his intelligence. As she realizes that she has to go she springs to her feet almost knocking all the papers and books off the desk and scrambles to the door tripping over Frank’s briefcase.

In this scene, the audience should be focusing on Frank and Rita’s growing relationship and how they are captivated by each other’s lives. This scene should also emphasize that Rita has no one else to talk to about this which is why she feels so relaxed and at home with Frank because he can talk to her about all the things that she is interested in. “I just had to tell someone who’d understand” she explains. When Rita is invited to the party she is worried about what to wear, “what shall I wear?”

This is the first time you see Rita worried about what other people are going to think about her this shows the audience a different side to Rita.

In scene seven Rita come to Frank after she failed to turn up at the dinner party. This scene shows Rita’s loneliness and how she feels isolated from everyone she feels she can no longer talk to the people she lives with anymore and she doesn’t feel good enough to talk to the other people at the university. “I’m a half-caste,” she explains in sadness. Scene seven also shows Rita’s strength because although she feels isolated and the easiest thing would be to quit she carries on and is determined to complete her course at university and make a better life for herself and her family.

This scene should be set in Frank’s office in the evening with the fire burning and the light from the street lamps coming in through the windows. I think this will work because it will reflect Rita’s feelings at this time in the play, she feels trapped away from everything and the light shining in from outside shows relates to the fact that she can see everyone else but can’t be involved with them and the darkness will represent her sadness and anger. As she enters the room her whole personality should appear to be different as she goes to the desk and without work gets ready for the lesson, this is a total contrast to her usual chatty, cheerful and bubbly self. She should not look directly at Frank and thinking that deep down she feels guilty for not coming to the dinner party. Frank walks around the room asking why she didn’t turn up and explaining to her that he wanted her to be there. She should act as though she is very uneasy and tense, she must show the audience how hard it is for her to talk to the type of people at the dinner party and she should try to make them feel sorry for her. As she explains why she didn’t come to frank he begins to understand her life and Rita shows how strong she is by wanting to stay at the university. The audience should feel closer to Rita now because of the no of her home life, Rita should be serious and appear vulnerable as she opens up to Frank.

I think Willy Russell was trying to prove that anything is possible and was trying to show that you can make a better life for yourself no matter what background you come from or what you have or haven’t done in your life you can make it better. I thought the play was good and showed that Both Frank and Rita helped each other in many different ways. Before they met each other they were both unfulfilled but after meeting each other their relationship and closeness helped them through their problems and enjoy life more.

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An Analysis of the Characters of Frank and Rita in the Play Educating Rita. (2022, Aug 06). Retrieved from

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