y Cosi single work   musical theatre   - Three acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1992 1992
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Play with music.

Loosely based on Nowra's own experience at producing a play (Trial by Jury) at Melbourne's Plenty Mental Home, Cosi has become a favourite with theatre companies and audiences alike since it premiered in 1992. Full of theatrical jokes and roles rich with Jonsonian humour, the play's use of a play rehearsal device also provokes images of the not-too dissimilar 'families' that come together in the professional theatre. Indeed, Nowra notes in the premiere season's programme notes that 'like the actual events of those days [the play] is, I hope, full of comedy and affection. Real madness and angst only occurred when I worked with professional actors'.

Set in 1971, Cosi takes an affectionate look at madness and mayhem in a world where institutions can be less limiting than ideology. The narrative is played out two locations, a mental institution and a suburban backyard. , Fresh from university, Lewis (a play on Louis) arrives to direct a play with the inmates, but is persuaded by Roy to stage his favourite opera, Cosi Fan Tutte. Lewis' problems don't end, however, with the fact that the other inmates are neither opera singers nor Italian-speakers. There is Ruth, troubled by the concept of a real illusion ; Zac, who insists on playing Wagner ; Doug, who is committed to the closed ward ; not to mention the sexual advances by Cherry and Julie. Lewis's world is no less complicated at home, where he has to contend with escaping pigs, exploding beer bottles and the pretensions of his politically correct friends.

The music incorporated into the narrative includes: 'Wild Thing' (by The Troggs), various songs from Cosi Fan Tutte, 'Purple Haze' (Jimmy Hendrix) 'Candy Says' (a Velvet Underground song, pre-recorded), and Wagner's 'The Ride Of The Valkyries'.

Adaptations

form y Cosi Cosi: A Comedy That's Not Quite all There Louis Nowra , Sydney : Miramax Films , 1996 Z331261 1996 single work film/TV

Loosely based on Louis Nowra's own experiences as a young theatre practitioner, Cosi follows protagonist Lewis, an unemployed actor who joins a government program to help rehabilitate mentally ill patients in a Sydney institution. Among the patients are psychopathic firebug Doug, pathologically shy Henry, lovesick Cherry, forlorn Ruth, recovering drug-addict Julie, and ever-demanding Roy. Hoping to realise his dream of staging a production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Roy begins takes over the inexperienced Lewis's program, even though oblivious of the fact that none of the other patients can sing opera. As Lewis attempts to keep control of the inmates, his own life begins to spiral out of control. After being dumped by his girlfriend, Lewis finds himself drawn to Julie. He is also sacked by the hospital administrator. Having come so far with their production, however, he and the actors secretly rehearse at night. Errol, the head of nursing, tells his supervisor that the group is preparing a variety show to be performed for the health minister's forthcoming visit. On the night, they instead present their somewhat chaotic version of Cosi.

Notes

  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording.

Production Details

  • First produced by Company B at the Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney, beginning 21 April 1992. The director was Adam Cook. The 1994 MTC production (Russell Street Theatre), directed by Nadia Tass, was presented with reduced production values, using a single set and with the domestic scenes either cut or relocated. Original director Adam Cook also revived the production in 2003 at the Optus Playhouse (QPAC, Brisbane) for La Boite Theatre.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press , Belvoir Street Theatre , 1992 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
An Australian Showcase, David Stratton , 1992 single work criticism (p. 15-17)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Currency Press ; Belvoir Street Theatre , 1994 .
      Extent: xvii, 89p.p.
      Edition info: Revised edition.
      ISBN: 0868194034
      Series: Current Theatre Series Currency Press (publisher), 1983- series - publisher 'Current Theatre Series consists of Australian plays published with the program inserted and sold during theatre seasons. The aim of the series is to promote and encourage new dramatic writing and make it accessible to theatregoers and the public. The text is presented at the first day of rehearsal and does not contain changes which the author may choose to make after the play has commenced its present season - these will be incorporated into any new edition published by Currency.' Currency Press.
    • s.l.,: s.n. , 1994 .
      Extent: 90 leavesp.
      Edition info: Revised edition.
      (Manuscript) assertion
      Note/s:
      • Typescript.

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Local Id: H2267

Works about this Work

y HSC English Standard ACT : Into English , 2014 7049894 2014 series - publisher criticism
Opera and Madness Make Fine Bedfellows Phil Brown , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 18 February 2014; (p. 43)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Director Sets a High Bar Fiona Gruber , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 August 2010 2010; (p. 16)
Adam Spreadbury-Maher, an artistic director from Canberra, is currently (2010), leading a revival of London's pub theatre scene.
y Louis Nowra's Così Insight Text Guides – Cosi Anica Boulanger-Mashberg , Elsternwick : Insight Publications , 2009 6897642 2009 single work criticism
Inspired Cosi Hits a High Note Peter Wilkins , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 26 November 2008; (p. 8)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
y Adaptations : A Guide to Adapting Literature to Film Denise Faithfull , Brian Hannant , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2007 Z1361797 2007 single work criticism Adaptations discusses approaches to adaptations of various forms of literature using a range of Australian texts and films as examples.
Staging Otherness in Mainstream Australasian and Canadian Dramaturgies Marc Maufort , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transgressive Itineraries : Postcolonial Hybridizations of Dramatic Realism 2003; (p. 27-79)
Section III of this chapter is entitled 'Alienating Naturalism : Louis Nowra's Dramatury'.
Crazy Cosi Kicks Theatre Season Off With a Laugh James Harper , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 8 February 2003; (p. 17)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Laughs Aren't Enough Brett Debritz , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 12 - 18 February 2003; (p. 8)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Comedy Creates Great Affection Alanna Maclean , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 9 August 2003; (p. 10)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Untitled Allan Schou , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , September no. 232 2003; (p. 10)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
'Who's the Bigger Dill?' : The Madhouse in Recent Australian Drama Veronica Kelly , 1998 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Body in the Library 1998; (p. 167-184)
y The Theatre of Louis Nowra Veronica Kelly , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 1998 Z543914 1998 single work criticism
y A Study Guide to Louis Nowra's Cosi Richard McRoberts , Ballarat : Wizard Books , 1997 Z1612242 1997 single work criticism
Theatre and Cultural Commerce: Louis Nowra's "Cosi" Helen Gilbert , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , Spring vol. 57 no. 3 1997; (p. 191-199)
Jack Hibberd on Two Screenplays: Bad Boy Bubby and Cosi Jack Hibberd , 1996 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 182 1996; (p. 42-43)

— Review of Bad Boy Bubby Rolf De Heer 1995 single work film/TV ; Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
A Rich Slice of Theatre in Nowra's Loony Bin Ron Banks , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The West Australian , 15 May 1995; (p. 5)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Committed to Mozart Neville Cohn , 1995 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 16 May 1995; (p. 16)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Nowra: Fact and Fiction Mike Daly , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 4 May 1994; (p. 33)
An Aimless Playwright Going Somewhere Fast Stephanie Bunbury , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 3 May 1994; (p. 19)
Crazy Cosi Kicks Theatre Season Off With a Laugh James Harper , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 8 February 2003; (p. 17)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Laughs Aren't Enough Brett Debritz , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 12 - 18 February 2003; (p. 8)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Comedy Creates Great Affection Alanna Maclean , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 9 August 2003; (p. 10)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Untitled Allan Schou , 2003 single work review
— Appears in: Muse , September no. 232 2003; (p. 10)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Inspired Cosi Hits a High Note Peter Wilkins , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 26 November 2008; (p. 8)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Jack Hibberd on Two Screenplays: Bad Boy Bubby and Cosi Jack Hibberd , 1996 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , July no. 182 1996; (p. 42-43)

— Review of Bad Boy Bubby Rolf De Heer 1995 single work film/TV ; Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Untitled Helen Thomson , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 6 May 1994; (p. 17)

— Review of Sanctuary David Williamson 1994 single work drama ; Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Cross-Examination Falls Short of Tension John Larkin , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 15 May 1994; (p. 7)

— Review of Sanctuary David Williamson 1994 single work drama ; Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
A Comedy that Fairly Glows in the Dark Angela Bennie , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 23 April 1992; (p. 16)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Insanity Exploited for a Few Laughs Rosemary Neill , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 23 April 1992; (p. 10)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Pyromaniacal James Waites , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Review , May no. 42 1992; (p. 16)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Play-Time Clicks Too Late at the Asylum Bob Evans , 1992 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 30 October 1992; (p. 12)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Performance Peter Ward , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 23 July 1993; (p. 12)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Cosi James Mullighan , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser Magazine , 17 July 1993; (p. 31,32)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Different Bridges John Edge , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 17 August vol. 115 no. 5883 1993; (p. 91)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre ; ... And I'll Give You All the Diamonds in My Teeth Jeanne Elaine Starcrystal Mazure 1993 single work drama
Noises Off Murray Bramwell , 1993 single work review
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , August no. 117 1993; (p. 37-38)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
"Cosi" Combines Comic Opera with Drama Felicity Bloch , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Jewish News (Life/Style) , 20 May vol. 60 no. 35 1994; (p. 3)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
La Boite Makes its Cosi Fan-Tastic Fun Des Partridge , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 23 July 1994; (p. 24)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Untitled Veronica Kelly , 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian , 29 July 1994; (p. 14)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Vibrant Ensembles 1994 single work review
— Appears in: The Sun-Herald , 24 July 1994; (p. 125)

— Review of Cosi Louis Nowra 1992 single work musical theatre
Staging Otherness in Mainstream Australasian and Canadian Dramaturgies Marc Maufort , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Transgressive Itineraries : Postcolonial Hybridizations of Dramatic Realism 2003; (p. 27-79)
Section III of this chapter is entitled 'Alienating Naturalism : Louis Nowra's Dramatury'.
'Who's the Bigger Dill?' : The Madhouse in Recent Australian Drama Veronica Kelly , 1998 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Body in the Library 1998; (p. 167-184)
y Adaptations : A Guide to Adapting Literature to Film Denise Faithfull , Brian Hannant , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2007 Z1361797 2007 single work criticism Adaptations discusses approaches to adaptations of various forms of literature using a range of Australian texts and films as examples.
y A Study Guide to Louis Nowra's Cosi Richard McRoberts , Ballarat : Wizard Books , 1997 Z1612242 1997 single work criticism
Director Sets a High Bar Fiona Gruber , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Australian , 24 August 2010 2010; (p. 16)
Adam Spreadbury-Maher, an artistic director from Canberra, is currently (2010), leading a revival of London's pub theatre scene.
Nowra: Fact and Fiction Mike Daly , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 4 May 1994; (p. 33)
An Aimless Playwright Going Somewhere Fast Stephanie Bunbury , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Age , 3 May 1994; (p. 19)
`Cosi' Gets Laughs, but it Doesn't Always Work Margaretta Pos , 1994 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Saturday Mercury , 14 May 1994; (p. 29)
Autobiographical Nowra Names Tax Man His Muse Helen O'Neill , 1992 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 16 April 1992; (p. 14)
Theatre and Cultural Commerce: Louis Nowra's "Cosi" Helen Gilbert , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Southerly , Spring vol. 57 no. 3 1997; (p. 191-199)
Cosying Up to Nowra K. L. Iffland , 1994 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 3 July 1994; (p. 17)
y The Theatre of Louis Nowra Veronica Kelly , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 1998 Z543914 1998 single work criticism
y Louis Nowra's Così Insight Text Guides – Cosi Anica Boulanger-Mashberg , Elsternwick : Insight Publications , 2009 6897642 2009 single work criticism
y HSC English Standard ACT : Into English , 2014 7049894 2014 series - publisher criticism
Last amended 22 Dec 2015 12:55:19
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