Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 8, 2022

PREVIEW: Passport Theatre Company, "Educating Rita"

Passport Theatre Company, Easthampton, MA
July 21 - 24, 2022

Passport Theatre Company presents a new take on Willy Russell’s classic comedy, Educating Rita. Starring Stephanie Carlson and Adrian Goldman, the production opens July 21 at 7:30 pm at The Blue Room, Old Town Hall, 43 Main St in Easthampton, MA.
Rita is a working-class hairdresser who wants to learn and grow. She sees education as the path to a better way of living her life. Frank is a disillusioned university professor who uses alcohol to mask his feelings of inadequacy. Rita sweeps into his cocoon of an office like a strong gust of wind, ruffling his papers, absorbing his knowledge and challenging his assumptions. Each has a romanticized view of life in the other's social circle. Rita believes that the educated have more culture, and that their lives therefore have more meaning. Frank believes that any problem can be forgotten with a trip to the pub.
Rita and Frank struggle, connect and clash, and do or don't learn. It is a quiet play. Like Rita, it is charming with a serious side as well. Perhaps the moral of Educating Rita is that it doesn't matter so much what song you sing; it's how you sing it. If we value growth, if we want to get "the absolute maximum out of this living lark", the choice is ours to do so, and it is never too late to start.

In the spring of 2021, longing for a return to theatrical collaboration, Passport Theatre co-founders Stephanie Carlson and Adrian Goldman revisited Educating Rita, a play that has a strong female protagonist. They wondered whether the play, written in 1980, would resonate with a modern audience. It could be dismissed as a dated romantic comedy-take on the classic Pygmalion story. Exploring the script, they found that it did work in today’s climate, and felt that audiences would appreciate its earnest exploration of themes of connection, belonging, implicit bias and personal growth.