Download paper

"Cosi" by Louis Nowra

Moreover, Nowra displays black comedy through the character’s uncouth and crude dialogue. The approach of a play within a play is used to mirror the life of Lewis within the play itself. It is only through the use of these structural techniques. It is only through the utilisation of such structural techniques that Nowra is able to accentuate the intensity and dramatic impact of Cosi The initial and most dominant structural technique used by Nowra to vividly and visually depict to the audience love and our compassion for ‘others’ in our society, is his use of structure in the text.

Act one begins with the play opening in an old and burnt out theatre; theatre; this symbolises the presence of confusion and uncertainty in the atmosphere. However, the theatre undergoes a slow transformation for the characters as the rehearsals gradually progresses. The first act of the play is used to depict the relationship of the characters and their perception of the outside world, “Will outsiders see the show? ” by asking this, Cherry acknowledges the difference between the world she exists in and the rest of society, distancing herself from the outside world and the people in it.

Act one show the internal relationships of the characters, which eventually applies the dramatic impact. Moreover, the second act of the play is designed to portray the inner workings of the character’s minds. Nowra uses employs the technique of contrasting the two acts in order to not only show the transformation experiences by the characters, but to also show the two different perspectives of mental health in the 1970s.

Top Experts
Verified expert
4.7 (657)
Sweet V
Verified expert
4.9 (984)
Bella Hamilton
Verified expert
5 (234)
hire verified expert

Thus, Nowra asserts through this technique that there are in fact two competing perspectives of mental health, one within the institution and also an ‘outside’ perception, hence challenging the characters own values and beliefs. *** It can be understood that Nowra uses the structural techniques of contrasting two acts, in order to show a transformation undergone by the characters and to show the inner working verses the outside perspective of mental health in the 1970s. They face their own challenges and values as they learn more about their own abilities.

Nowra also demonstrates to the audience that these are ‘extraordinary people’ not judgmentally insane, “Cosi gave me something to think about, something to do, see I’m happy coming to this burnt out theatre”. Through the use of the two contrasting acts, the audience is Shown the character’s extraordinary change which is accentuated by the use of structural techniques such as the juxtaposition of the two acts, Which allows the characters to transform and finally “come out of their shells”.

Nowra also uses dialogue to contrast characters and highlight to the audience that they are people worthy of viewing in a play. Nowra challenges the audience’s perception of mental health in the twentieth century when he introduces the character Doug, who is a ___(frail and broken young man who perceives life as ‘nothing more than a pile of crap’). Doug’s dialogue is direct and blunt but also intelligent and socially correct when he says _________________________________________________________ the way ‘outsiders’ deal with mental illness in the institution.

His use of uninhibited directness highlights that the patients are not afraid to say what they are thinking and that what they are thinking is the same as a person in a broader society. “You’re not deaf are you? ” this type of dialogue indicates that he knows how to behave socially, as he asks the right questions, in fact Lewis seems as if he is mental, hence why Doug asks if he is deaf. In the conversation with Doug and Lewis we see Doug asking questions, which seem to be inappropriate, Lewis ________________quote for when he uses synonyms_______hesitantly replies. Do you love her? , does she sleep around…. ” From this we see that Doug has good mental agility, as his sequence of Questions are in fact, socially correct.. Moreover, Dough is portrayed as intelligent which is highlighted when he articulates synonyms for ‘location’ and ‘dwelling’. The directness comes at his question, “are you a poofta? ” which ultimately gets the laugh from the audience; It is these uncensored, blunt and awkward lines that create the desired shocked but amused response from the audience.

The Play within a play is a technique employed to mirror Lewis’ life with the words of an opera and escalate the desired dramatic response by Nowra. When mirroring Lewis’ life, Nowra touches on the theme of love and compels the audience to assess their own attitudes to love at the conclusion of the play. We are encouraged to empathise with the characters as they discover the value of love and loyalty. (Find a quote research play within a play. ) “What is going to happen to the couples in the future: a life of torment and adultery”.

Nowra purposely draws on the consequences of immorality through Zac to show the generalisation on the modern world, towards the end of the play this statement ironically contests’ the final events of Cosi fan tute. Another effect that the play within a play acts as is a filter which allows the audience to see the issues of the external world through the behaviours of the characters. Nowra anticipates the audience to tap into the worries and dilemmas that they face from the actors, “It’s just that in here you miss out on a lot of changes in society’s morals”.

The audience are also involved in the actor’s reality and are able to relate to their lives and reconsider and redefine their own morals and values. Consequently, the audience are drawn into the play to such a real level that they are affected by the character’s problems, feelings, motivations and search for reality. Thus, the technique of mirroring the character’s lives creates a surreal and realistic impact on the audience, hence heightening the vivid effect of Cosi. In order to create an intense and dramatic impact of the play, Nowra utilizes various structural techniques throughout Cosi.

The use of two contrasting acts displays the transformation of many significant characters and invites the audience to the concept of transformation of the individual. Moreover, the frank and straightforward dialogue assigned to the characters prove to the audience that Cosi is a play worth viewing and create the desired ‘shock’ response by the audience. Furthermore, Nowra scripts a ‘play within a play’ to compare and contrast the parallel between the play and the lives of the characters, thus extending the dramatic impact of Cosi to each member of the audience.

Cite this page

"Cosi" by Louis Nowra. (2018, Oct 03). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7