''Educating Rita'' is a stage {{comedy}} by British playwright Willy Russell.

A working-class girl from Liverpool wants to improve herself by studying literature. Her assigned Open University professor is Frank, an alcoholic. Rita struggles to maintain her relationships with her working class peers while trying to fit in with the educated middle-class. Rita's belief that the educated have better lives and are happier people is challenged throughout the script.

A film version was made in 1983 starring Creator/JulieWalters, Creator/MichaelCaine, and Maureen Lipman.
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!! Tropes in ''Educating Rita'':
* AlcoholHic: In the movie version, Frank lets one out when he shows up drunk to a lecture, much to the amusement of his students. It goes downhill from there.
* AnAesop: Intelligence is valuable yes, but it can also be superficial, and what one should really have is a strong personality.
* BeYourself: Reconstructed. Rita is deeply unhappy with how she is and seeks to get an education to better herself. It's shown that acting posh and pretentious can be just as empty as being lower class, and Rita ultimately finds contentment with her education but still holding onto her true personality.
* BittersweetEnding: Movie version: [[spoiler:Rita separates from Frank fondly, and has a chance for a much better paying job in London]].
* BlessedWithSuck: Rita's education is shown to be this.
* BookSafe: The professor hides his whiskey behind a book.
* BrainyBrunette: Rita changes her hair from blonde to brown presumably to evoke this trope.
* BrickJoke: Early on in the film, Rita jokes about popping around to Frank's office with her scissors. At the end of the film, she gives him an ImportantHaircut.
* CallBack: One of Rita's early joke answers to a question about staging difficulties is "do it on the radio". The same question appears on her exam at the end, but she doesn't give that answer.
* CerebusRetcon: Frank's alcoholism is only given a few passing mentions in the first half of the story, but it starts getting PlayedForDrama when he starts turning up to lectures drunk.
* CerebusSyndrome: The light-hearted nature of the story changes suddenly when Rita arrives home [[spoiler: to find her roommate overdosed on pills, Frank's girlfriend leaves him and his alcoholism gets even worse]].
* ChildrenAreAWaste: Rita doesn't want to become locked into looking after a child - her husband wants her to have a child as soon as possible, and gets angry when he finds her birth control pills.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: [[spoiler: Rita chooses not to go to Australia with Frank and they part amiably, though it's certainly left open as to whether they'll hook up later]].
* DontThinkFeel: Rita is nervous in her final exam, and follows her professor's advice about essay writing.
* DownerEnding: At the end, [[spoiler:Rita is in an uncomfortable position: her education puts her above her working-class peers, but her accent and manner do not fit into the middle-class strata of society.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Rita's roommate Trish overdoses but survives]].
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: Rita's hair is used as a clock to symbolise her CharacterDevelopment:
** When she begins her studies, it's short and bleached blonde.
** As she starts to really get into her education, and the conflict with her family starts, it's a little longer.
** When she leaves her husband, it's grown out past her shoulders.
** After her summer school, she has now turned it brown.
** As she has more conflict with Frank, it's just above the shoulders.
* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: It's apparently Frank's own fault that Julia cheated on him. As an alcoholic who spends too much time at work, she was apparently completely justified. No other character calls her out for this.
* GossipyHens: The women around Rita are superficially seen to be these. Her roommate in the film also has varying degrees of this.
* IAmVeryBritish: A few students at the university speak like this, and it's used to show them as pretentious. Trish speaks like this too [[spoiler: but in her final scene it's implied to be an act]].
* ImpliedLoveInterest: There appears to be some attraction between Frank and Rita, but it never amounts to anything.
* InformedAbility: Subverted. We never hear Frank's poetry and we only have Rita and Trish's criticism to go on about it being good. Frank however thinks it's rubbish.
* IgnorantOfTheirOwnIgnorance: Rita's roommate Trish.
* LowerClassLout: Rita's husband Denny fits this trope perfectly; concerned only with going to the pub and watching TV.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Present but not entirely played straight. Rita fits lots of the Manic Pixie tropes - bubble of quirk who forces herself into a brooding man's life. Notably Frank turns her away to another tutor at first, but she insists on being taught by him and getting to know him. But then again, she's trying to improve her own life and has character growth of her own. While she attempts to fix Frank's life, it's shown that only he can do that. Though he does end the story better from having known her.
* TheMakeover: Rita gives herself one while at summer school.
* MeaningfulEcho: Rita recalls her mother saying of everyone in the pub "surely there's a better song to sing", which becomes her motto. Later on in the film, Frank calls her out saying that she's not singing a better song; just a different one.
* MeaningfulRename: Rita's real name is Susan, but she chooses to call herself Rita when she starts her education. This is subverted when she's more comfortable with herself and goes by Susan to everyone but Frank.
* NotWantingKidsIsWeird: Rita's friends and family are constantly asking her when she's going to have a baby, and treat her not wanting one as an oddity.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping:
** There are a few accent slippages from the Irish supporting cast.
** [[spoiler: In Trish's final scene, the posh voice she has been using is suddenly replaced with an OopNorth one. This implies that she has been faking it to seem important]].
* PygmalionPlot: It's implied that Frank falls for Rita in the process of tutoring her.
* RunningGag: Rita can never open the tricky lock on Frank's door. At one point she even brings an oil can.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: Deconstructed. Slob Rita wishes to better herself and become a Snob, but finds herself unable to fit in either situation. She ultimately finds happiness just being herself - conforming to neither label.
* StayInTheKitchen: Rita's husband doesn't think she should be learning, and tears up her homework when he finds where it is hidden.
* StepfordSmiler (Type A) : Rita realized her mother was unhappy with her life and is trying not to go into a miserable relationship and do something with her life.
* TrueBlueFemininity: Rita is color-coded with lots of blue throughout the film.
* WhatNowEnding: [[spoiler: A very positive example. Rita ends the film with no idea what to do next, and the beauty of it is that she now has choices. Which she didn't have at the beginning]].
* YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre: Rita's professor lectures her in a one-on-one session when she feels hopeless.
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