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January 29, 2022, 07:24:46 am

Author Topic: Cosi feedback..?  (Read 3251 times)  Share 

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Felicity Wishes

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Cosi feedback..?
« on: September 25, 2012, 09:44:39 pm »
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Please? :]


Nowra shares more than just humour in Cosi
‘Cosi’ by Lewis Nowra is a humorous but tragic play. Beneath the comedy, several ideas are explored through the narration of the play; through the life of the asylum patients, Nowra highlights the miserable reality they face daily, subtly making a statement about the poor treatment of the mentally ill. Additionally, ‘Cosi’ also shares insight into the nature of fidelity through the intrapersonal relationships of the characters, allowing the audience to question and reconstruct their own beliefs.

Although the setting of ‘Cosi’ is glum, humour spreads itself right through the play, engaging and entertaining the audience. The comical nature of the play is formed through the exaggerated emotions of the mental patients, such as Doug and Cherry, who are seen as amusing and enjoyable when compared to bleak characters such as Lucy and Nick. Doug is a character that blatantly encourages the crowd to laugh due to his shocking brass nature and his offhand comments which include “want a root” and “great tits”. Aside from Doug, Cherry also manages to provide the audience with laughter as her personality is oddly obsessive. Her almost instant infatuation towards Lewis, her bashful nature towards Doug – “go burn a cat” – and her fierceness towards Julie – “touch him and I’ll kill you” all combine and help the play form its comical nature. It is this humour that allows the audience to feel comfortable, despite the tragedy that ‘Cosi’ also introduces.

Nowra intended for ‘Cosi’ to be laughable at some points but behind this, the play reveals terrible truths about mental institutes in Australia during the 1970’s. Firstly, Nowra allows us to question whether asylums are effective for treatment. Zac is one character whose purpose is to expose the cruel nature of drug treatments. Sent to the asylum for his eccentric behaviour, Zac forms a harmful addiction to his prescribed medication and is able to ‘break into the pharmacy’ and feed his addition. It is only ‘on a lighter dosage’ that Zac appears to function normally, and his occurs nearing to the plays conclusion, overall highlighting the ineffectiveness of merely handing out drugs in order to crush mental illness and suggesting that treatment occurs at a better rate when an individual is off medication. Again, the mental health care system is attacked for being ineffective but this time it is through the patients that this contention is expressed. Roy describes asylums as being “one of the most inefficient places on earth” and this can be proved through the suffering he goes through, especially when asked to imitate one receiving electric shock treatment. Despite the ‘treatment’ supposable being effective, Roy has negative experiences with it and acts out the scene in a painful manner, exposing the audience to a brutal form of depressive treatment and implying that the treatment is not only useless, but harmful and this is further exaggerated by Roy’s bad mood after the moment. Largely, the experiences of Zac and Roy are vital in highlighting Nowra’s negative view on mental asylums.

Protagonist Lewis Riley is symbolic of an ‘outsiders’ take on the mentally ill. His views are ignorant and naive; he ‘lightly’ grips Cherry’s hand, seeing her as delicate and he is afraid that ‘without meds the patients might go berserk’ but as the play progresses, he breaks the notion that there is “us” and “them” and see’s the patients as unique individuals. Implicitly suggesting that there is much in common with the ‘sane’ and the ‘insane’ and that the two can intergrate, rather than remain completely separated. In comparison to Lewis, Nick is used to bring forth and reveal the negative stigma associated with ‘madmen’. Nick’s condescending and mocking personality appears undesirable and flawed, when compared with Lewis’s transformation, allowing Nowra to openly show that this stigma is shameful and disgusting but yet, common in society.  Furthermore, the interaction between Lewis and Nick’s priorities – “Cosi comes first” -  allows Nowra to conclude that a society should deal with its own problems – the treatment of the mentally ill – rather than to deal with the problems of another country, in Nick’s case, Vietnam. In finish, it is clear that ‘Cosi’ is not all about humour, Nowra uses it as a tool to express his deep views on the negative treatment of the ill by society, indicating that the problem is worthy and needs to be addressed.

On a different note, a major theme that ‘Cosi’ shares with the audience is that of love. The idea that ‘love is not so important nowadays’ is brought forth but it is challenged, rather than obeyed. Its first challenger arises in the shape of Roy and his shock at this statement, asking Lewis ‘what planet are you from?’ if he were mad. Throughout the duration of the play, many different views on fidelity are introduced. Doug doesn’t trust women while Henry is angered at the fact that Cosi Fan Tutte ‘ condones the corruption of innocence’, Julie believes love is foolish and relates it to being on drugs and other characters provide contrasting views on romance; it is unimportant in the face or war, to Lucy and Nick and to Roy, ‘love is what you feel when you don’t have enough emotion to hate’. Despite all of these conflicting views, one thing that reveals to be significant is the important of love in the world. At the end of the play Lewis defines love as being ‘what makes the world go round’ and ‘Cosi’ proves this true by creating characters that are into ‘free love and orgies’ and due to this factor ‘Nick and Lucy didn’t last long as they both weren’t into fidelity’, showing that true love is what keeps a relationship together, while unfaithfulness leads to suffering, further proved by Guglielmo and Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte, whose girls fall for the opposite fellow due to the lack of affection and trust in their relationships. The exploration of devotion allows the audience to conclude that love is the glue in relationships, consequently confirming that ‘Cosi’ brings more than entertainment to the table.

Cosi is a play that is filled with sadness as it keenly addresses the many problems institutions hold and the suffering they bring. Regardless of the unhappy endings, the play also teaches valuable lessons about the importance of love in relationships and even love in a greater sense, as Nowra paints an negative image of society on its attitudes to mental illness, implying that change is needed. Despite the serious note that ‘Cosi’ preaches, it manages to lace itself with humour, providing wholehearted enjoyment for the audience. 
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 09:48:31 pm by Felicity Wishes »
Psychology and psychophysiology (Swinburne)

danielgb123

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Re: Cosi feedback..?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 04:11:57 am »
+2
No response, I'll add some input.

Personally, I think it's a strong piece, however, immediately the reader is faced with:
Quote
‘Cosi’ by Lewis Nowra is a humorous but tragic play.
I understand what you are trying to do in setting a basic statement, however, something a little more 'attention-grabbing' would work better in this case.
The introduction overall is solid, but nothing more - I believe it needs more depth, more surrounding insight into Cosi.

There are some issues with language: eg
Quote
right through the play
--> throughout the play?
Quote
Nowra intended for ‘Cosi’
--> Nowra's intention in the creation of his play, 'Cosi'

Or even:
Whilst Nowra's intention in the creation of his play, 'Cosi', was to provide a humorous spectacle, the comedic backdrop is outweighed as he reveals the terrible truth surrounding mental institutions in Australia during the 1970’s.

The conclusion to the second paragraph is excellent, well written; perhaps a little more depth again in thoroughly explaining the quotes used; don't be afraid to delve into more discussion so long as it remains relevant to the prompt.

The third paragraph goes into some good discussion following your topic sentence, if I had to pick on anything it would be a need for more reference to Nowra's intended meaning; whilst you mention that what occurs in the play is as a result of Nowra's "negative views on mental asylums" expand and reference within the paragraph. You have done this well in the forth paragraph, which by the way, is both complex in thought and well written :)

Quote
On a different note, a major theme that ‘Cosi’ shares with the audience is that of love.
Personal opinion, but not a fan - "on a different note", screams laziness (whilst that may not be intended) - that topic sentence is far too vague, it says virtually nothing.

Quote
Lucy and Nick and to Roy, ‘love is what you feel when you don’t have enough emotion to hate’.
Whilst this may appear the case, I would tread carefully in applying a quote by one character (Roy), in relation to both Nick and Lucy. Whilst Nick and Lucy are dismissive of notions such as love and fidelity, predominantly concerned with 'free love' and their occupations, in essence they do not 'feel' love, but rather intrigued by flings.

Quote
‘Cosi’ proves this true by creating characters that are into ‘free love and orgies’
Quite a broad, vague, statement - it leads the reader to believe all characters revolve around this concept, when in fact as you mention previously, they all share different notions of love; you are contradicting yourself with that statement.

Take note that I am especially picky on the discussion surrounding 'love and fidelity' as it is a key notion and important to nail the discussion and complexity of the ideas involved.
There are various spelling and grammatical issues I have not made note of which you will pick up re-reading this over again.
The conclusion whilst relating to the prompt needs a little more depth, make sure to re-emphasize all your important points and conclude with a strong statement.

Don't take any feedback to heart, it is provided to offer tips for improvement, take it as you wish.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2012, 04:14:13 am by danielgb123 »
Class of '12 | ATAR: 83.80 | English [42]  Business [40] Psychology [37] Accounting [30] Economics [27]

Felicity Wishes

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Re: Cosi feedback..?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 08:06:10 am »
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Thank you. In response to your first comment, can you give me an example of a better opening sentence because I know mine are always bleak..? Thank you.  :)
Psychology and psychophysiology (Swinburne)

danielgb123

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Re: Cosi feedback..?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 01:14:40 pm »
+2
No worries.

One thing you need to understand is examiners are bombarded throughout the marking period reading essays which are very similar in both content and structure. The idea is that immediately you want to capture attention; as opposed to present another seemingly dull piece to them - perceptions form at the first sentence!

Here's what I used for my recent Cosi SAC:
Louis Nowra's lively production, "Cosi", showcases the world of a mental asylum, patients disregarded and unanimously renowned as lepers of society.

It's apparent that there was some initial thought placed into that opening sentence, it captures the setting immediately and highlights misconceptions placed on the patients.

If you wanted to be very specific to that opening sentence, something like this may work:
Louis Nowra's theatrical production, "Cosi", displays clear comedic intent, however.. [and expand]
Class of '12 | ATAR: 83.80 | English [42]  Business [40] Psychology [37] Accounting [30] Economics [27]