It Is Only the Inmates Who Benefit from the Production ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ Essay

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It is only the inmates who benefit from the production ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ The compelling novel ‘Cosi’ by playwright Louis Nowra is a play-within-a-play, set in the 1970’s in Melbourne during the period of the Vietnam War. The novel explores the journey that Lewis Riley, the protagonist, embarks on, as he sets foot in a mental asylum as director for the Opera ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’, uncertain of where his journey will lead him. As we discover it is not only the inmates of the mental institution who benefit from the production, but in fact the doubtful Lewis is the one who unintentionally learns the most from ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ in a diverse range of ways. Lewis being an ‘outsider; and is ultimatley the one with the power and ability to influence the patients of the asylum. Lewis unintentionally teaches the patients about the outside world that they have been excluded from. Doug doesn’t understand social mores but through Lewis and the production, he realises that the motto for youth in the 1970’s society is “make love, not war, eh?” and through Doug’s expressive personality, some of the other patients begin to learn about the world that Lewis lives in, one example of this new found knowledge can be seen through Julie, when she questions Lewis about being “into free love?”, explaining that Doug “spread it all over the asylum”. As well as the patients benefitting from learning about society outside of the mental institution, the patients gain an understanding about the political state of the country. Cherry, for example, had no understanding of the current situation, this was seen through her confusion “what’s this about Vietnam?” and the statement “you’re always the last to know things in an asylum”, demonstrates the separation that the patients had from society. ‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ helps the patients to gain an insight to life outside of the asylum and each of them

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