Act 2 Scene 1

Plot

At the theatre, the group performs Act 1, scene 5 of Così Fan Tutte. The atmosphere is chaotic, with Henry loudly singing when he is supposed to mime while Ruth deals with a leaking hole in the roof. Julie and Cherry arrive, late because they stopped by Occupational Therapy to pick up a magnet to be used in the play. Although Lewis states a magnet is unnecessary, Cherry explains that the performance will be more convincing if they have a magnet for Despina, a character in Così Fan Tutte who pretends to be a Mesmerist. Since the girls couldn’t find a Dr Meser magnet, they settled for a piece of equipment used for shock treatment. Cherry orders Roy to get on the floor and pretends to operate the machinery, ‘sending’ bolts of electricity through Roy. Roy begins to convulse ‘as if real shocks are being sent through him’ [pg 59]. It looks so real that Julie and Henry ‘are concerned for him and empathise.’ However, Roy suddenly stops and jokes around.

The group discusses the meaning of love. Julie states that love is ‘foolish ’[pg 61]. Lewis sides with Cherry, saying that ‘boy’s winning of the girls’ hearts should be hard won.’ Meanwhile, Roy asserts that ‘love is what you feel when you don’t have enough emotion left to hate’. Zac arrives, presenting the set model and a poster of Mozart in a strait-jacket. Everyone begins to fickle over their credentials on the poster, since names were spelt incorrectly and some smaller than others. Lewis notices Roy sitting by himself. Roy explains that he is down because the vision of Mozart’s play is ‘destroyed’ [pg 63] since Lewis is letting others do whatever they want. Lewis promises that he will fit some Mozart music into the play and returns to the group.

Lewis announces that they need an extra rehearsal before the performance night. Julie asks ‘isn’t that the first day of your moratorium?’ [pg 64] however Lewis states that ‘this comes first.’ Lewis and Julie rehearse their part on stage when the lights go out. In the dark Julie reveals that she prefers the dark since in wards, ‘there’s always a light on in the corridor’ [pg 66] while Ruth argues that she is ‘not keen on it’ since her ex-boyfriend used to tie her up in a wardrobe and threatened to kill her that if she ever tried to escape. Lewis shares that he would ‘feel betrayed, I guess’ [pg 67] when Julie asks what Lewis would do if Nick and Lucy were together. Cherry smashes the set model while she tries to find Lewis in the dark. Lewis feels a touch and believes it is Cherry. However, Julie laughs, touching his face. Meanwhile Zac walks into Ruth and feels her up but she slaps him away. While Cherry continues to search for Lewis, he and Julie ‘kiss passionately’ [pg 68]. With their eyes closed, they do not realise that the lights turned on so that everybody sees their kiss, including Cherry. Cherry slams a sandwich into Lewis hand, forcing him to eat. Roy complains that ‘chaos reigns’ when he leaves, Zac is depressed over his broken model while Cherry warns Julie to never kiss him again or ‘I’ll break your fuckin’ arm.’

Analysis

Another insult stuck against mental institutions is displayed during the group’s discussion of animal magnetism. While Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte ‘is a satire on Mesmer and his supposed cures’ [pg 58], the doctors of modern times are also ridiculed since ‘no one knew what a Dr Mesmer magnet looked like. Dr Posner was there and he said he was a carlton.’ The doctors are depicted to be ignorant towards methods of treatment, and highlights how little care they must provide the patients of mental institutions. Furthermore, Lewis’ comment, ‘charlatan’ is deliberately ambiguous – whether he is referring to Dr Mesmer or Dr Posner, illustrating that potentially, both doctors are merely frauds.

More of Lewis’ personal change is shown when he places the performance before the moratorium. His first concern is for the patients, rather than Nick and Lucy who possess differed values. Lewis’ renewed beliefs is symbolised through the water leaking from the rook, as though it is cleansing him of his old perspective.

Many of the patients appear to be changed from their experiences with the theatre. Ruth has developed the ability to distinguish reality and illusion, as she admits that she was pretending, ‘it wasn’t me, it was the character’ [pg 64]. From a controlling and abusive personality to a defeat, Roy provides Lewis the opportunity to behave like a director. Through his involvement with the play, Zac requires less medication, and believes that he is better off that way, ‘it’s amazing how much more bright the world seems’ [pg 62]. These changes in the patients emphasises that while the project is merely a chance for the patients to experience a different environment, it certainly does assist their mental states.

Important Passages

‘We did that yesterday, it’s all that kissing and stuff…And we’ve thrown out the music from this opera.’ [pg 60 – 61]

‘It’s not like the real thing, I suppose…Yes. Leave it to me.’ [pg 63 – 64]

‘It’s probably the fuse box, I’ll go and see…Men like sex more than women because they don’t have to clean up the mess.’ [pg 65 – 66]

‘If your friend Nick fell for your girlfriend?…Kiss him again and I’ll break your fuckin’ arm.’ [pg 67 -68]

Important Quotes

‘You’re dealing with a mad audience, you know.’ [pg 57]

‘Asylums are the most inefficient places on this earth.’ [pg 58]

‘The women aren’t twits, are they? Even though the opera makes them out to be.’

‘No one knew what a Dr Mesmer magnet looked like. Dr Posner was there and he said he was a carlton.’

‘Charlatan.’

‘Mozart is love, not madness.’ [pg 59]

‘Love is what you feel when you don’t have enough emotion left to hate.’ [pg 61]

‘Hate is a much more pure 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. Music is what love between humans should be.’

‘I can’t stand real things. If I could put up with reality I wouldn’t be in here.’ [pg 62]

‘Democracy is foreign to theatre, Jerry. You and I know that, it’s just that you want to pander to the mob.’ [pg 63]

‘This comes first.’ [pg 64]

‘I like this. I like the dark. That’s what I hate about the wards – they’re never really totally dark, there’s always a light on in the corridor or whatever. Never true pitch black.’ [pg 66]

‘Like Dorabella and Fiordiligi, it’s just as easy for a woman to fall in llove as it is for a man.’ [pg 67]

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