How Are Ideas About Illusion and Reality Explored Through Nowra’s Use of Theatrical Devices in Cosi?

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Through Nowra’s play the ideas contrasting delusions and realisms are explored in a way to keep the audience in limbo. Theatrical devices have been put in place to ensure the viewers look beyond the stereotypes the mentally ill have been given in society. The play within a play adds complexity to these “normal people who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts.” Also the use of darkness and the burnt out theatre are important devices in distinguishing between illusion and reality. The play within a play is a device used to remind the audience that they are watching a play. The reality that the audience are watching characters rehearse the opera ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ causes the audience to reflect, upon their own ideas about love, fidelity and whether being loyal to a political idea is more important than being loyal to a person. This device has mirrored ‘real’ events that have occurred with Lewis’s relationship with Lucy. When speaking to Julie he mentions how he and Lucy “sometimes talk about commitment” and how Lucy’s dislike for “talking about love” due to her political importance, has consequently changed Lewis’s understanding of Love. When Lewis asks is Lucy is having an affair with Nick she says it’s only a fling and she’s only ‘having sex’ with Nick and she’s actually ‘sleeping with’ Lewis. This distinguishes between the dysfunctional couple’s morals and beliefs. It illustrates how society of that time was significantly changing. People’s beliefs and morals were not being as traditional; women were into ‘free love’. The “burnt out theatre’’ symbolises the neglect of the mentally ill. The “mould” and tattered walls represent the patient’s value from society. Many of the characters find using the theatre to perform “Cosi fan tutte” as a form of escapism from the mental institution. When Roy enters the theatre he looks around and says to

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