Cosi - Feature Article

Mad actors are bad enough, but mad men…
By Cassandra Parkinson

The play Cosi written by Louis Nowra forces the audience to consider their own place in society, whether they dominate, or are dominated; whether they allow others to live fulfilling   lives, or lives that are controlled by others. This play has qualities that ensure that it has a continued relevance for a modern society, primarily in its investigation of madness and what is considered normal in everyday life. Lewis Nowra has presents themes and techniques throughout the play which held to highlight that Cosi will remain relevant to modern day society.

The main theme that is presented is the theme of madness and insanity and the line between what is considered ‘sane” and “insane” this theme has been presentented throughout the play.

Early in the plot Nowra suggests that mental illness does not mean a person should be excluded from society. In Justin’s dialogue with Lewis this idea is made clear for the audience. Justin tells Lewis that “the first thing is, and you’ll discover this; is that they are just normal people…’ This idea is furthered through positive connotation that Justin applies to the patients: “they are just normal people who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts”

The play not only focuses in the development of Lewis, but also suggests the need for personal growth in the patients. This idea is made evident by Justin who continually restates the purpose of the play: “part of this project is to bring out people like Henry” and also “the important thing is to bring them out of their shells” this occurs in the final scene of the play when Justin tells Lewis ‘came right out of their shells. They blossomed, Blossomed!’
Julie uses figurative language in her attempt to describe the effects of drugs for Lewis. Lewis engages her in a conversation about the appeal of drugs. Julie describes it suing similes: ‘like lying in a warm cloudy river’ and ‘felt like...