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Cosi – Louis Nowra. Background & Context. The 5 elements of a text. Context & Setting Plot Structure/Style/Language (SSL) Characters Themes/issues/ideas. Background & Setting. The four ‘worlds’ of the text 1. The world of Louis Nowra 2. Australia in the 1970’s

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cosi louis nowra

Cosi – Louis Nowra

Background & Context

the 5 elements of a text
The 5 elements of a text
  • Context & Setting
  • Plot
  • Structure/Style/Language (SSL)
  • Characters
  • Themes/issues/ideas
background setting
Background & Setting
  • The four ‘worlds’ of the text

1. The world of Louis Nowra

2. Australia in the 1970’s

3.The world of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”

4.The Asylum

the world of the writer
The world of the writer
  • Louis Nowra (Aus;Melb; 1950)
  • Childhood scars of abuse
  • School was challenging, complicated by a head injury
  • Attends uni but does not graduate
  • Has an honorary Doctorate in 1996
  • Has an uncle who exposes him to theatre
the world of the writer1
The world of the writer
  • Lived near the Mount Park and Plenty Mental Homes
  • Played in the institutions grounds
  • Both grandmothers were patients
  • Spent a significant time with Psychologists after the head injury
  • Worked with mental patients in 1970; invited to do a show as a form of therapy
the writer
The writer
  • Teacher
  • Truck driver
  • Cook
  • Dole recipient
  • Experimented with drugs
  • Hippie phase
  • 1974 – married Sarah De Jong (Composer)
  • Wrote Cosi in 1992
  • ‘A black hole of fiction, surrounded by a halo of truth’
1970 1972
  • War had been raging between communist North Vietnam and democratic South Vietnam since 1959. Australian troops had been sent to serve alongside American forces in 1965, in an effort to help stop the spread of communism. Many of these troops were conscripted, which meant their military service was compulsory.
  • Opposition to the Vietnam War was high in the early 1970s. Many Australians began to doubt that the war would ever be won and strongly opposed the government's policy of conscription, or compulsory military service. On 8 May 1970, over 200 000 people around Australia gathered in cities to demonstrate against Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War.
  • Australian soldiers were withdrawn from Vietnam in 1972. In total, around 50 000 Australians had served in the conflict. Around 3000 were wounded and almost 500 were killed
australia in the 70 s
Australia in the 70’s
  • Mono-cultural
  • Generally intolerant of difference
  • Struggling to deal with people suffering mental illnesses
  • Confused and contradictory
  • Issues with fidelity
  • Reactions – the Hippie era (free-love &peace)
australians re evaluate
Australians re-evaluate
  • Role in the Vietnam War
  • Gender roles
  • Australians place in the world
  • Allegiances
  • Beliefs
  • Relationships with a global society
mozart s cosi fan tutte
Mozart’s ‘cosi fan tutte’
  • 1790 – ‘Romantic Period’ of music
  • Comic opera
  • Lyrics (libretto) by Lorenzo da Ponte
  • ‘Thus they all do’ = ‘All women are like that’
  • Fidelity and love
  • Dorabella and Fiordiligi (Women)
  • Ferrando and Guiglielmo (Soldiers/men)
  • Despina ( handmaid)
  • Don Alfonso (philosopher)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

  • Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro
  • Mozart was a child prodigy who toured throughout Europe, performing and composing.
  • When he was just 8 years old, his first compositions were published. Mozart served as
  • performer and composer in a number of royal and papal courts, but insisted on freedom

when composing. He was a prolific composer, completing more than 20 operas and

  • countless chamber pieces, concertos, symphonies, and choral works.

Opera buffa

Comic opera, always sung in Italian. The jokesters in these operas are always the

working class, such as

maids, peasants, or servants,whokeep busy getting the best of their employers.

mozart s cosi
Mozart’s cosi
  • Explores universal issues with cynicism
  • Trust
  • Love and life
  • Fidelity
  • Gender roles
  • sexist
the asylum
The Asylum
  • Institutionalisation
  • Isolation
  • Prison-like
  • Lonely
  • Forgotten
  • Inadequate support structures and expertise
  • Limited therapy options
  • Medication
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Normal V abnormal
settings in the play
Settings in the play
  • A burnt –out theatre at an asylum
  • Patients /inmates
  • Wards/cells
  • Medication/chains
  • Therapy/torture