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EDUCATING RITA (article first published : 2003-07-22)

After an absence of nearly seven years, multi-award winning director Murray McGibbon has returned from the United States to direct Willy Russellís charming and witty comedy Educating Rita at the Kwasuka Theatre.

Durban theatregoers will remember McGibbon for the many productions he directed for the then-NAPAC, and later The Playhouse Company in the 1980ís and 90ís. Two of Durbanís best known theatre personalities have been cast in this heart-warming story of a teacher-student relationship. Dennis Schauffer will play Dr Frank Bryant, a disillusioned university professor of literature, while Philippa Savage will star opposite him as Rita, his student and, as it turns out later in the play, his teacher.

The production will be designed by Greg King, and lighting is by Michael Broderick. The play will be produced by KickstArt in association with Presto Theatre International.

Willy Russell also wrote the VITA award winning Shirley Valentine which Murray McGibbon directed in Durban starring Diane Wilson. Willy Russell says that Educating Rita is in part about literature, language and education, and that he wanted to write a play which engaged and was relevant to those who considered themselves uneducated, those whose daily language is not the language of the university or the theatre.

"I love stories," says Willie Russell. "I spend all my writing life trying to make stories. The story, the narrative, which is unfashionable in the study of English Literature, is to me all-important.

Educating Rita plays at the Kwasuka Theatre from July 25 to August 17. Booking is at Computicket (011-340-8000). Group or block bookings through KickstArt on 083 544 2006.




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