There are critical moments in a person’s life when the opportunity to move away from the known world into an unknown world arises. This is a personal choice and if embraced offers a life changing opportunity. The realization that something is missing is often the driving force for a need to change direction and is an inevitable part of personal growth. The move into a new world is not however an easy one and, paradoxically, in order to reach this individual freedom, there comes an understanding and acceptance that there will still be limitations to face. Embracing a new world can either be a conscious individual decision or alternatively can be brought on by an unexpected life experience. Regardless of how the new experiences are brought on, once the initial challenges are faced, growth and development are the end result. Educating Rita was first performed in 1980; it reflects a previous decade of great change in Western thinking about boundaries imposed by established institutions. Accepted practices were being challenged and exposed as controlling. Patriotism, material roles, social divisions, assumption about race, gender and sexuality all come under attack and led into new ways of being in the world. Russell uses the word ‘educating’ ironically, as the education that Rita receives is academic but also brings about a change in her view of the world and her role within it. Frank is bored with teaching undergraduates English literature, Frank Bryant morosely reflects through a whisky glass on his failed marriage and his attempt at becoming a poet. His world is turned upside down by the arrival of Rita, a hairdresser who has decided to find herself by taking an Open University course. ‘An Australian Story- Shattered’ encompasses on the horrendous events that took place on the night of 22 July 2007, about a man named Peter Hodgkins threw a rock at a car from an overpass, smashing the skull of newly engaged women Nicole Timbs and instantaneously changing both their lives forever.
Choice and sacrifices is required to be made when entering an unfamiliar place or society. Russell has clearly displayed how the protagonists in ‘Educating Rita’ have profound choice and sacrifice within their life. Rita declines the ‘cosy’ domesticity that her husband wants for her. Her husband does not share her enthusiasm for a transformation and the audience can empathise to a certain extent as he strives to retain grasp of her as she increasingly falls away from him. Rita feels unfulfilled, she is inspired by a dream and knows that she will lose contact with her family and friends: ‘See, I don’t want a baby yet. I wanna discover meself first. Do you understand that? p.12 ‘I tried to explain that I wanted a better way of liven’ me life ‘ p.12. Rita is determined to learn in order to overcome her limited background, as she sacrifices her marriage, part of her self and who she is, hence the reason she changed her name to Rita from Susan. Rita professor, Frank is jaded and drinks too much to ‘escape’ his life “I shall need to go to the pub afterwards, I shall need to wash away the memory…” p.1
The bottle of whisky that Frank secretes metaphorically indicates that he uses drinking to cover up or hide his frustration with his life. Due to these acts Frank loses respect of his peers and students, beside that he sacrifices his relationship with Julia because he is forced to move to Australia, which assembles him to move into the world.
Moving into the world is extremely evident in the Australian story ‘Shattered’ by ABC, when the protagonists, Nicole and Peter’s lives change within seconds, from a minor mistake. Peter was a good person with a well full time job as a builder, had a child and little interaction with police. His life turned around when he split with his partner, relying on alcohol leading to bad influence with his mates, turning into a…