Cosi is a play by Australian author Louis Nowra. I watched the movie at least twenty years ago and have been meaning to read the book since then.
The play was set in Melbourne in the 1970s. It is the story of a budding director, Lewis, and a group of inmates from an asylum who put on a play.
Roy, a manic depressive, was insistent that they perform Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and would not budge from his selection, even though no one from their motley group could sing opera or speak Italian. Lewis had just graduated from university and had no idea what he was doing, so went along with Roy’s choice.
The performers included Cherry, who had a crush on Lewis and was obsessed with food, Julie, a drug addict, Henry, an uncommunicative former lawyer who had suffered a breakdown, and Doug, a pyromaniac who had to be constantly watched in case he burned down the theatre. Doug had a smart mouth and was constantly provoking the people around him, to which their universal response was, “Go burn a cat.” It turned out that Doug already had.
Somehow this group managed to overcome the squabbles amongst themselves, their health issues and their stage fright to perform the play once, although the front row of their audience, who included the catatonics, were not terribly receptive to the spectacle they witnessed.
Along the way Lewis’ girlfriend and his best friend, whose main interests were protesting against the Vietnam war turned to each other, which was an interesting parallel story to the storyline of the play Lewis was directing, Cosi Fan Tutte, with its themes of love and fidelity.
Cosi is dated, and politically incorrect, but it is also very funny and the characters are surprisingly endearing for such a short play. Now I really want to watch the movie of the same name, Cosi again and one day, see the play performed on stage.
My purchase of Cosi by Louis Nowra continues to meet my New Year’s resolution for 2021 to buy a book by an Australian author during each month of this year (November).