Act 2 Scene 3

Plot

On opening night, Lewis gives in to Zac who wants to include a last minute piano piece. Julie comes in, telling Lewis he needs to speak to Roy, who is undergoing stage fright and wishes to quit the production. Lewis leads Roy to a private area, and is empathetic as Roy fears of forgetting his lines and people staring at him. Lewis encourages him that people should be looking at him all the time, since that would mean he is giving a good performance. Realising the truth in Lewis’ comforting words, Roy announces that ‘I’m back!’ [pg 75] and heads off to put on his costume. Lewis asks Cherry if Roy’s parents are coming, but Cherry reveals that Roy is an orphan, although he pretends otherwise.

Nick, who showed up unseen, comments that the noticed Lewis was absent at the moratorium. Lewis replies that he ‘didn’t have time. We only stopped rehearsing an hour ago’ [pg 76]. Asking if Nick and Lucy are staying to watch, Nick replies that they are going to ‘celebrate the moratorium’ since ‘she doesn’t want to see an opera about a few upper class twits.’ Lewis realises that Nick is planning to have sex with Lucy that night. Unable to tolerate anymore of his old friend, Lewis punches Nick to the floor when he starts to sing ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haaa’. Nick retaliates by declaring that Lucy left Lewis because he was a ‘lousy fuck’  [pg 77], and leaves.

Cherry, pleased to hear that Lewis is no longer with Lucy, kisses him on the cheek. Seeing Julie walk in, she threatens, ‘he’s mine!’ [pg 78] and heads off. Lewis leads Julie off stage to show her ‘how to move those flats for the change.’ Zac enters, and noticing no one is on stage apart from Ruth, asks her for sex only to be slapped across the face. Henry runs past crying that he said ‘Macbeth’ and Roy ‘tried to strangle’ him because of the omen of saying ‘Macbeth’ before a performance. Zac swallows multiple pills in order to calm his sexual desires down.

Hearing the audience enter the theatre, Lewis and Julie quickly kiss before the show. Ruth runs in, crying for help since Zac is in comatose. Lewis and Julie run off to help. Ruth, acknowledging the chaos, calls Henry to begin his part since they will skip the overture.

Analysis

Throughout Cosi, Roy presents himself with a dominating and forthright personality. The change in his temperament to cowardly is understood when Lewis discovers that Roy is in fact, an orphan. His strong external image concealed his fears and insecurities since he had never had a true family. Instead he ‘farmed out to foster parents who, realising what a nut case they had on their hands, put him back, quick smart’ [pg 76]. His sudden change in behaviour before performing to an audience is due to his fear of being people ‘staring’ [pg 75] at him. Since he had spent much time inside wards, an indication of his adopted family’s failure to support him, Roy has become used to being a ‘reject.’ Hence, he has lived a life unnoticed and insignificant. His role in the play however, places the attention and spotlight onto him for the first time. 

The split between Lewis and Nick’s friendship is forged due to their contrasting ideas. Nick’s betrayal by believing that ‘I thought you’d think the same [about free love]’ [pg 77] rather than appreciating his friend’s opposition in sharing Lucy demonstrates that Nick has no sense of respect for loyalty, either in friendships nor romantic relationships. Lewis’ statement that ‘women’s constancy is like an Arabian Phoenix’ is not only applied to women, but also men, reinforcing the idea that both sexes can be disloyal.

Nick satirises the patients by singing the song ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haaa’ by Napolean XIV, a popular and successful single released in 1966. The song adopts society’s view on the mentally ill by including politically incorrect lyrics about a man about to be sent off to a mental institution. Nick’s treatment of the patients as merely a joke only further drives apart his friendship with Lewis.

Important Passages

‘Lewis, you’ll have to speak to Roy…I’m back!’ [pg 74 – 75]

‘Opening night nerves, Lewis?….[He goes]’ [pg 76 – 78]

Important Quotes

‘I purposely didn’t take me medication today so I’d be right on top of everything.’ [pg 73]

‘I don’t have a concept, I’m a director.’ [pg 74]

‘A hundred thousand people, maybe 200. Took hours to get to Parliament House, yelling out, ‘1, 2, 3, 4, we don’t want your fuckin’ war’. Radicalised the nation.’ [pg 76]

‘No, she’s sleeping with you, we’re having sex.’

‘Lucy’s not possessive about you, I’m not possessive about her. What’s the fuss?’

‘What are you on about – too much time with the loonies, Lewis.’ [pg 77]

‘It’s only sex.’

‘Women. You have to wrap it all up in fancy language and then they swoon for you, when all it comes down to is the same thing.’ [pg 79]

‘Women are God’s punishment for men playing with themselves.’

‘Everyone blames women but I forgive them, if they change their love a thousand times a day, some call it sin, others a drug but I think it’s the necessity of women’s hearts.’ [pg 80]

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