"Cosi" is a novel, written by Lewis Nowra ,that takes an affectionate look at the madness and mayhem in a world where "sanity" does not exist. The .
novel tells the story of a young man named Lewis , fresh from university who accepts the challenge of producing a play in a burnt out old theatre as occupational therapy for the patients of a state run insane asylum in 1971. .
It is the time of student protest and free love. Lewis is young and arrives at the institution with minimal commitment to the project and a promise to his girlfriend Lucy and best mate Nick in the "change the world" marches and protests.
When Lewis arrives at the asylum he meets Justin Anderson, who is the social worker who hired Lewis to direct the play. Lewis then continues to meet Roy who is an eccentric and manic depressant who is obsessed with the works of Mozart, Ruth a shy and obsessive woman, Doug who is a crude individual who has a passion for starting fires, Julie who is a drug addict and was committed by her parents at a young age , Henry a stuttering and almost catatonic lawyer, Cherry who is a nice person and fancies Lewis and Zac the tranquilized piano player who loves wagner.
Roy convinces Lewis to direct the opera "Cosi fan Tutte" by Mozart, despite the fact that it is an opera which is written in Italian and that no one can perform the music. The rehearsals only just get underway when Doug "accidently" set fire to the toilets.
Lewis begins to have trouble with Henry as he is not interested n communicating and Ruth's obsessions with how many steps to take. And the fact that Doug was removed and taken to the closed ward after he started another fire.
Lewis is then forced to take Doug's role. Lewis is started to be drawn to Julie and finds himself beginning to fall for her. Lewis also has to put up with Cherry's continues attention and the shoving of food in his mouth. Nick has come into help Lewis with the play.