Text Review: Cosi by Louis Nowra



Read this play quickly last week for Standard English: Module B – Close Study of Text. I’m really beginning to enjoy reading plays – not just because they are so much shorter, but because the scenes really “come alive”. I’ve always liked reading dialogue more than description.

In particular with Cosi, I enjoyed Nowra’s humour and philosophical musings. The humour is generally light, although I did find some parts rather dark and disturbing (which is the point). For example, the whole cat burning thing gives me shivers! And the flick knife moments are worrying, lol.

The discussion about the nature of love and madness is particularly interesting. Some comments I thought stood out were:

  • [T]here’s no such thing as divine madness, madness is just madness.
  • Love is hallucinating without drugs.
  • Love is what you feel when you don’t have enough emotion left to hate.
  • Hate is a much purer emotion. We choose our enemies with greater care than our lovers. That’s why hatred lasts longer. You have enemies for life, but never lovers.
  • I liked my grandmother, I knew she had gone mad, but she was still my grandmother.
  • We’re in an illusion of a garden, carrying on an illusion of tiny paintings, so shall I sit down and pretend I am acting?

Of all the characters, I liked Roy’s snide remarks about Lewis’ directing (or lack thereof) and Ruth’s frustration at acting (see last quote above).

I was also really surprised by the ending! The entire play seemed very optimistic and funny – then the end kind of hits you with the reality of well, life. Both inside and outside the asylum. I thought it was a really fitting ending and loved it.

I haven’t watched any productions or films of Cosi, so it would be interesting to see how it looks when performed.

Any other thoughts about Cosi?

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