1. Create a character proﬁle of Lewis
His role as director (self)
Lewis Riley is the protagonist of the play Cosi. His part is that of a director of a play being put on by the patients in a mental institution. In the beginning putting on the play for Lewis is simply motivated by his need for some quick cash. He initially sees Roy, one of the mental patients, choice of the opera Cosi Fan Tutte as being trivial, “Love is not so important nowadays.” In this view he is really a follower of his friend Nick and girlfriend
Lucy who are outspoken against the traditional values of society. Therefore, he wants to put on a play by Brecht, which he feels comfortable with and which he thinks has values that are important in “these days of the Vietnam War.” He quickly realises that Roy intend to stay with their ﬁrst decision. To put on this play is very much about going on a journey.
Julie, one of the mental patients remarks in the ﬁrst act “In a way you’re sort of testing yourself by coming here?” While his girlfriend Lucy later says in the second act “Working with these people has changed you. We used to talk about things. Important things. Now all you can talk about is reactionary drivel like Cosi Fan Tutte.” In the beginning of the play,
Lewis lacks conﬁdence, the stage directions describe him as “not knowing what to say,” and talking “hesitantly” and “uncertainly.” By the end of the play Lewis has become more sensitive towards how the patients want to portray their parts. He has gained conﬁdence in his role as the director through his seeing the patients as people and learning about himself through that interaction.
The mental patients (mental illness)
Throughout the play Lewis comes to empathise with the patients of the mental institution.
In doing this he is going against ingrained attitudes of the day represented by Nick, who sees the people Lewis is working with as “loonies” in a “funny farm.” At the start of the play
Lewis is overwhelmed by the personalities he had got himself involved with, “Just leave,” he says to himself, “they’re mad. It’s madness.” But slowly he overcomes the framework of seeing the characters around him as “mad.” “My grandmother went mad,” he tells Julie. “I liked my grandmother, I knew she had gone mad, but she was still my grandmother.” And so he comes to relate to the characters around him, who, though mad, are also just people. Lewis takes a genuine interest in their views and values, and importantly, recognises that one successful production of a play won’t be the difference in the patients suddenly going from being “mad” to being “normal.” “Happy is the man who calmly takes life as he ﬁnds it,” is the last line of Cosi Fan Tutte. In Lewis’ ﬁnal monologue in the play, he calmly narrates Julie’s death from an overdose and Roy going “from ward to ward.”
There wasn’t a happy ending for the mental patients, and part of Lewis’ journey is to accept this.
His girlfriend Lucy (love and ﬁdelity)
Lewis and his girlfriend Lucy both have an affair during the course of the play. Lucy has an affair with Nick while Lewis ﬁnds himself attracted to Julie, who he is playing opposite in the play within the play. EAch of them is unfaithful to the other.
The characters within the play Ferrando and Guglielmo, test the ﬁdelity of their lovers in the opera Cosi Fan Tutte. Life imitates art when Lewis, who ends up playing the part of
Ferrando in the production, falls for Julie because of her passion, “I’ve always thought that
love was being foolish and stupid. It’s about being on the edge and I like being on the edge,” and her belief that love is important. Meanwhile Lucy has been having an affair with Nick because Lewis is changing his views and attitudes and this has an impact on their relationship because their beliefs are no longer as compatible
His political viewpoints/Nick (The Vietnam War)
At the start of the play, Lewis thinks that the…