Anna mentioned the very quick turnaround involved with a stage reading. This has certainly been the case with Educating Rita. Under three weeks from selection and inception, through direction, to perception. I am very much surprised by how much the play has come alive, despite it being an advanced play reading. It’s pleasing to have the director use a word to describe an element of the performance, having to check the meaning of said word because you’re a dumbass, but then appreciating and agreeing that this is how it should be.
So, what about my character? Frank has spent a rather unfulfilled and disillusioned life as an English literature tutor in a university for a large portion of his life. He has lost his appetite for teaching and even his own enjoyment and encouragement for creating poetry – both in himself and in others. His joy of Somerset Maugham and W.B. Yeats has been replaced by Jonnie Walker and Arthur Guinness. They now navigate him along the delicate path through the frantic whirl of life.
Then Rita arrives. His life will never be quite the same again.
Unlike Anna, there isn’t actually a lot of Frank in me. That hasn’t meant that I couldn’t relate to him. Frank and Rita’s story is a familiar one in literature, and one I have rubbed shoulders with and enjoyed before. I know our audience will as well.
PS. The word was ‘avuncular’.
* Please note that the RStC reserves the right to replace the likeness of 'Frank' with that of a more handsome actor.