Drama 24 Play Reviews

Each student should attend and review at least two local theatre productions before the end of the semester. It is suggested that you combine this activity with your "community theatre service" component; if you perform a duty for a local theatre on a performance night such as ushering, you can often see that show for free. To do this, plan early and contact the theatre to determine which performances need volunteers. You should write your review as soon as possible after viewing the performance. It would be wise to review Chapter 2 in your textbook before writing your review. Your reviews can be submitted anytime throughout the semester but due dates are listed on the schedule of classes for when the first and second must be submitted in order to get full credit. Both reviews must be submitted by the end of the semester. To find local play offerings, go to: http://www.live-onstage.com.

The general requirements for reviews are 800 words of standard, academic prose, typed double-spaced, using good grammar and spelling. Using a word processor to word-count and spell-check is required . Put the word count on your paper along with your name and Drama 24 section. Have an introductory paragraph that includes a thesis statement for your paper along with any criteria you used to judge the theatre performance. As you develop your thesis in the body of the paper, be sure to support your opinions with as many specific examples from the performance as possible. Not having enough specific examples will decrease the amount of points awarded.

Try to relate the play to what you have been studying; for example, what terms of Aristotle’s Poetics apply? Were neoclassical unities observed? Does it fit into a particular period style of theatre? Does it borrow conventions from periods of theatre we’ve studied? Whenever possible, use course-specific terms and ideas to evaluate the play you watched. Some questions that might help you focus your review follow; they are not meant to be a "laundry list" of questions to be answered but as a starting point to generate responses. Feel free to address elements not mentioned below.

Audience response: What was the aesthetic of the evening at the particular theatre building? Did you feel welcome? Did the lobby, the "house" and audience seats appeal to you; was it inviting and pleasant? How were you treated by the theatre staff? Was the playbill inviting and interesting? Were the concessions enjoyable? Compare and contrast your reaction to other theatres you’ve attended. How, as a general theatergoer did the production engage you? Was the story clear? Were the characters believable? Did you believe their motivation for doing and saying things? Was the action accessible to you; were the "stage pictures" readable? What moments engaged you the most? The least? What was the purpose of the play? To inform? To Persuade? To Entertain? What did the production, overall, make you think and feel?

Critical response: As a student studying theatre, consider the following: How did the technical and physical realities of the theatre affect the production? Did you think that put limitations on the production? Were there aspects that may have not been fully explored because of those limitations. Conversely, when and how did the theatre provide "spectacle" of high quality. Did they transcend limitations? How did that affect your perception of the theatre and the play? For the above, feel free to talk about the set, props, costumes, lights and sound. Discuss the caliber of acting by the company of nonprofessional community actors. Was it below your expectations, what you expected or did it exceed your expectations? When and how and with who? Was the play a good choice for our community? How well did it fit into contemporary North Coast culture? Did the production echo any themes or styles explored this semester?

Note: Do not spend much of your paper simply discussing what the play is about. A plot synopsis is not necessary and will be considered filler unless you make direct critical comments concerning the plot.