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Sue Sherman MLC. COSI by Louis Nowra Così by Louis Nowra Sue Sherman MLC.

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Presentation on theme: "Sue Sherman MLC. COSI by Louis Nowra Così by Louis Nowra Sue Sherman MLC."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sue Sherman MLC

2 COSI by Louis Nowra Così by Louis Nowra Sue Sherman MLC

3  Three important ideas that Nora aims to convey in ‘Cosi’: 1. The inhumanity and ineffectiveness of the mental health system in 20 th Century Australia. 2. The insanity of war; the need to condemn war and to protest against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam. 3. The importance of theatre - as a powerful form of political protest and as a way of enriching people’s lives with ‘art’. Sue Sherman MLC

4 Their actions are:  Crazy  Nutty  Insane  Barmy  Mad  Batty People are labelled as: People are labelled as: Fool Fool Nitwit Nitwit Simpleton Simpleton Imbecile Imbecile Crackpot Crackpot Idiot Idiot They belong in the: Nut house Nut house Loony bin Loony bin Funny farm Funny farm Attitudes to mental illness can be seen in the language of ‘otherness’ Psycho Psycho Weirdo Weirdo Maniac Maniac Moron Moron Cretin Cretin Nutter Nutter Sue Sherman MLC

5  Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, in mid 1800s, was the first Australian mental institution. Inmates often incarcerated because their behaviour seen to be a threat to society. Symptoms included:  alcoholism and homelessness  protracted sleeplessness  persistent headache  great depression or exaltation of spirits without sufficient cause  By the late 1800s, approximately one in every four hundred Victorian citizens classified as insane. Sue Sherman MLC

6 Psychiatry has had a long history of subjecting patients to bizarre, dramatic and often barbaric procedures. Sometimes intended to restrain patients, but sometimes thought to cure specific conditions In the 1930s, insulin shock therapy introduced as an accepted treatment for depression and manic depression. At the height of its popularity, administered widely to institutionalised patients. In the 1930s, insulin shock therapy introduced as an accepted treatment for depression and manic depression. At the height of its popularity, administered widely to institutionalised patients.  In the 1940s electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and frontal lobotomies introduced. Lobotomies were a form of brain surgery used to pacify patients - now regarded as barbaric. The use of Lithium salts (rediscovered in 1949 by Australian psychiatrist John Cade) - an attempt to control mania in chronically hospitalised patients. In the 1950s, antidepressant drugs arrived - used with a range of other drugs for sedative or restraining purposes; stimulants were used to ‘liven up’ patients with depression. Sue Sherman MLC

7  Look at the following images of ‘madness’.  How have they been portrayed by artists and filmmakers?  Why might they be seen in these disturbing ways?  Is ‘difference’ sometimes socially unacceptable? Why? Sue Sherman MLC





12 This is what a ‘room’ in an 18 th Century mental asylum looked like

13 Sue Sherman MLC This is part of a 20 th Century asylum might environments like these affect the inmates? How might environments like these affect the inmates?

14 Sue Sherman MLC Underground sewer...? Larundel Mental asylum, Victoria; closed in 1990s

15 Sue Sherman MLC These are some of the methods designed to control, restrain or cure the mentally ill

16 Sue Sherman MLC Electro-convulsive therapy

17 Sue Sherman MLC How it feels to the patient

18 Sue Sherman MLC The effects of intensive shock therapy – Jack Nicholson in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest ” Cure or punishment?

19 Sue Sherman MLC ‘Productive employment’ for the mentally ill

20 Sue Sherman MLC Occupational therapy

21 Sue Sherman MLC Artwork by a mental asylum patient... Vincent Van Gogh

22 Sue Sherman MLC Group therapy session One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

23 Sue Sherman MLC Mockery of the mentally ill? Social commentary? Affirmation of a common humanity? What are Nowra's ideas about mental illness? How does he How does he convey them?

24  Students’ ability to understand, acknowledge and explore the genre of their selected text is improving. Responses that focused on Bolt’s use of the Common Man in his play, the visual imagery employed by Sarah Watt and even the way characters’ names supported a greater understanding in Dickens’s novel, suggested that insightful discussions are taking place in classrooms regarding how the construction of a text adds to its meaning and our understanding. This knowledge was particularly apparent in the ‘how’ topics which specifically dealt with structure, including Citizen Kane )i), Generals Die in Bed”(i) or “In The Lake of The Woods’ (i). Sue Sherman MLC

25 Social issues that concerned Nowra :  Treatment of Mental illness:  Frontal lobotomy: Frontal lobotomy Frontal lobotomy  (“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”) (“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” Sue Sherman MLC

26  What meaning does Nowra convey through references to these practices? In ‘Cosi’, Nowra positions us to condemn the values of a society which treats its mentally ill in barbaric condescending ways... HOW is this conveyed?  Mentally ill characters are constructed sympathetically - an implicit condemnation of the society that has labelled and incarcerated them and subjected them to inhumane treatment.  Sue Sherman MLC

27  Social Issues(continued)  The Vietnam War: The Vietnam War: The Vietnam War:  Nowra’s contact with mental illness as the director of a play in an asylum:  “Cosi Fan Tutte” Cosi Fan TutteCosi Fan Tutte Sue Sherman MLC

28  The startling differences between the worlds explored in the previous slides make us aware of some of the ironic juxtapositions in “Cosi.”  The squalor and despair of the asylum and the burnt-out theatre is juxtaposed against the splendour of grand opera. ( Cosi Fan Tutti)  The betrayals in the opera parallel the betrayals in the play.  The ‘madness’ of the Vietnam war is implicitly compared with the chaos in the asylum (note the operatic music accompanying the helicopter assault – and Nowra refers to Wagner’s music in Cosi. Is there any significance in this?)  These ironic juxtapositions and parallels show HOW Nowra conveys some of his ideas. Sue Sherman MLC

29  The social and political issues Nowra draws on are central to the meaning/s of the play:  Through these issues he explores ideas about :  Sanity & insanity  War  Love  Fidelity and betrayal  He uses a variety of ‘features and structures’ to convey these (and other) ideas Sue Sherman MLC

30  Character:  (constructed to embody ‘themes’ and ideas about individuals and their relationships and circumstances.)  Setting:  (Historical, cultural, physical... Settings reveal aspects of character or comment on the nature of society)  Structure:  How is the action of the play organised – and what is the significance of this? (The juxtapositions and binary oppositions are part of the structure... The play within the play is the most striking structural feature. )  Style:  (generic features: stage directions, dialogue, visual and aural aspects of the performance on stage)  Imagery / symbolism:  (objects which carry a deeper significance, or the use of recurring motifs in the play) Sue Sherman MLC

31  Light & dark  Fire & water  Madness & sanity (chaos & order)  Fidelity & betrayal  Reality & illusion  Gravity & triviality  (it’s useful for students to make lists and find specific examples of these)  Binary oppositions create hierarchies in which some things are valued more than others. Nowra invokes these oppositions and then undermines them, by blurring boundaries between them... For example, the line between sanity and insanity is blurred by the ‘insane’ or irrational behaviour of ‘sane’ characters (Lewis, Justin) and the ‘normal’ behaviour of inmates such as Julie and Ruth. Sue Sherman MLC

32  “Lucy: We used to talk about important things... now all you can talk about is reactionary drivel like Così Fan Tutte.” How does Così show modern audiences the contemporary relevance of Mozart’s eighteenth-century comic opera?  How are ideas about betrayal and loyalty explored through the structure of the play-within-a-play?  ‘The comic irony of Nowra’s play is that the patients in the asylum are saner than the ‘normal’ characters.’ Discuss. ( Implied: How does Nowra show us his ideas about insanity)  ‘The visual and musical elements in Così are as important as the dialogue in conveying the play’s central ideas.’ Discuss. (Implied: How does Nowra show us the equal importance of visual and musical elements?)  Nowra’s play is set in a “burnt out theatre”. Discuss the importance of setting and imagery in conveying Nowra’s ideas in Così. (Implied: How do setting & imagery convey Nowra’s ideas?) Sue Sherman MLC

33  ‘ The characters in Mozart’s opera and Nowra’s play prove the truth of the opera’s title; “women are like that”.’ Discuss. (Implied: How do the characters embody these ideas?)  ‘Both Così Fan Tutte and Così are trivial comedies which ignore the important social and political issues of their times.’ Do you agree? ( Implied: How do the play and the opera convey ideas about social and political issues?)  “Justin: The most important thing is to feel you are in control.” Does Così suggest that illusions are more powerful than reality? (Implied: How does it suggest this?)  “Roy: The music of this opera keeps the world in harmony.” Why does Mozart’s opera become so important to the characters in Così ? (Implied: How does Nowra show its importance?) Sue Sherman MLC

34 The key to a good text response is:  Unpacking the topic  Unpacking the topic and exploring its implications, particularly the ‘hidden’ how  AND  Working with a coherent paragraph structure which asks and answers the following questions:  WHAT aspect of the topic will be referred to by the assertion in the topic sentence?  WHERE does Nowra provide examples to support the assertion in the topic sentence  HOW are some of the structures and features of the text working to strengthen the assertions made about the topic?  HOW are textual details and features used to convey MEANING – and what meanings are conveyed? (link to topic) Sue Sherman MLC

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