Cosi Essay

Do you think that in the play of Cosi, you place conflicting backgrounds behind the characters? Louis Nowra: They act as grounds to support conflict between them. Lewis Demonstrates the ability to accept change, however he also shows his reluctance to assert his own morals upon others in the play. However the different personalities in themselves acts as a moral tangle all around Lewis, he essentially becomes part of the audience, redundant in a world of conformity, which is like showing his mental state is not a reflection of his morals but rather an illness beyond his control.

In the play, do you think the characters show the value of the ‘sane’ world of the 1970’s ? Louis Nowra: I think the characters, show irrational, but at the same time individuality, in which, within itself provides shelter. The characters have been used to get the audience to consider, their own place in society, whether they dominate, or are dominated, whether they allow others to live wholesome lives, or whether they do so themselves. The characters have laid out the boundaries of this world between sanity and madness. In the play what two distinctive styles of language do the characters contrast?

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Louis Nowra: ( Interviewee sighs ) I think the natural speech of Lewis and the patients is contrasted within the stylised dialogue of Mozart’s opera. Lewis and the patients use dialogue which reflects the sounds and patterns of Australian speech. Doug is extremely crude and it reflects the lack of boundaries in all areas of his behaviour. Roy also uses crude language at times, but his speech is characterised by a tone of sarcasm, which is often conveyed in a very witty way. Henry’s absence of dialogue reflects the emptiness of his world and both his lack of confidence and what he sees as a lack of need to communicate.

I think Nick and Lucy’s dialogue is often marked by a strident, political tone, which reflects their rigid attitudes. What other language style of the play is contained in the libretto of Mozart’s opera? Louis Nowra: It’s sprinkled throughout the play, but seen most clearly in Act Two, Scene Four, where the opera takes over. This is highly stylised language, in verse, is a complete contrast to the rest of the play. I personally think the attention to the message of Cosi allows it to be presented to the audience as a moral for my own play, in a way that would not be possible in modern Australian speech.

In what way is the play shaped, in conjunction with its structure? Louis Nowra: The play Cosi follows the classic formula of a comic play, such as, the orientation, like the opening and introduction of the characters and the situation the characters are in. Then the various crises comes in, like, conflicts and the events in the play which can advance the plot. In the middle of the play, it starts to, in which I like to call it, Climax, the point of the highest tension in the story. Then it finishes with the resolution, basically the conclusion. What is the most interesting feature of the structure of this play?

Louis Nowra: The use of the play-within-a-play device. In which I feel this has allowed the issues and concerns of one play to be reflected and commented upon in the other play and this is very effective. The themes and structure of Cosi are dealing with love, sex and fidelity, what was your purpose of these themes? Louis Nowra: Within this structural device, I was commenting on the ability of drama to reflect behaviour and teach us and the audience lessons about ourselves. As the play Cosi gives lessons to Lewis and the patients, so we, the audience of Cosi are forced to think about our own values in the light of what happens in the play.


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