The play Educating Rita by Willy Russell gained great popularity especially during the early eighties. There has also been a movie made from it starring Julie Walters and the more famous Michael Caine. As so often the case, the movie was more elaborate with additional scenes, some of which were spoken of or retold by the actors in the play. The movie also included several actors while the play only featured two, Frank and Rita.
After having read the play and seen the movie I am struck by a number of differences. Seemingly subtle, many small details have a great impact on how the story can and is being perceived. The movie offers much more background information on other characters and events that are important to the story.
'The Screenwriter's Bible' by David Trottier offers a good insight in script writing and story structure. It deals with the basic elements of a typical screenplay, and explains what it actually is that an audience craves. Many of the principles can and should be applied to any story whether a screenplay, theatric play, novel or short story.
The play is much more predictable in the sense that a great many things are bound not to happen on stage. In fact nothing taking place outside Frank's office can be seen by the audience. All action is inevitably confined within these four walls. When Frank invites Rita to his home for dinner in the play the audience are not set up for suspension as to how it will turn out since they already know that whatever happens will not take place before them, but will be retold. The movie is several scenes richer. Some of these scenes are in the play retold by the actors and some of them are not there at all. Scene three in act two begins with Frank cursing "Sod them-no fuck them! Fuck them, eh, Rita? Neither Rita or the audience have the first clue as to what he is referring to. As the dialogue progresses they audience is informed that he is upset because the students...