Willy Russell was born in Whiston, near Liverpool, England, in 1947. He comes from a working class background, as did Rita. He didn't do very well at school and left with only one English O-level. Russell's mother suggested that he should become a ladies hairdresser, which he did and later on he ran his own salon. Rita also was a ladies hairdresser after underachieving at school, due to her not wanting to be more educated than her family and friends.
'Educating Rita' was published in 1982, written by Willy Russell. The play tells the story of a university lecturer, Frank, and an undereducated Liverpudlian woman, Rita, in search for higher learning. Being set in the 80's, the play reflects some of the most crucial moments in British history for women and their access to continue learning after leaving school.
'Pygmalion' is a Greek myth and play. The character Pygmalion is a sculptor who falls in love with a statue he has made.
He prays to Venus to bring the statue to life, she takes pity on him and does as he wishes. 'Pygmalion' relates to 'Educating Rita' because both Frank and Pygmalion create something that's not meant to be, Frank indirectly changes Rita and Pygmalion changes the statue.
In Act 1 Rita is presented as nervous and unconfident around Frank. She shifts around the room a lot, she talks about irrelevant things and quickly changes the subject. Rita initially talks about the stiff door handle, 'It's that stupid bleedin' handle on the door. You wanna get it fixed!' then shortly after she starts talking about a picture on the wall, 'That's a nice picture, isn't it?' both topics are inappropriate, but she uses these things as an excuse to avoid any direct conversation with Frank.
The reader is...