THA200 Performance Critique Two
Use the following required format for your critique. Please divide your paper into sections and use the Roman numerals and titles exactly as they appear below. You should use the theatrical vocabulary and concepts we are learning from our text in your answers.
Once you have finished with a paragraph, go back and place in boldface all vocabulary words or concepts from the chapter that you are featuring. This might be several words per paragraph, but by all means should include at least one term per answer. Points will be deducted for reports that use laymen’s terms or excessive verbiage to express ideas for which we have learned vocabulary, for failing to place vocabulary in boldface, or for reports that boldface common words instead of theatrical vocabulary.
The major objective of this report is to demonstrate your familiarity and facility with theatrical perspectives and “lingo.” Make sure you use our terms and definitions, and make them easy to find in your report!
Think of this like a headline. Give your critique a ten word or less title into which you have put some creative thought. Neither your name nor the name of the play is a title for a report. Center this title at the top of your page, place it in italics and use the rules for capitalization of titles. Do NOT put it in bold, underline it, or place quotation marks around it. If you want to give it greater emphasis, place it in a larger type size. Do not put any other title or heading on your paper.
I. Thesis Statement
Begin your report, as all reports, with a compelling thesis statement that gives a sense of what is to come and makes the reader want to find out what you have to say about it. This statement should be exactly one sentence long – no exceptions. Be sure that your thesis says something specific about the production you watched, and not about the play as literature.
Your thesis statement should be followed by an overview in eight numbered complete sentences that cover:
1. The full name of the play. (Make sure you spell it correctly and place it in italics. Underlining is NO LONGER acceptable practice for titles. ALL CAPS or Boldfacing never were.)
2. The full name of the author of the play. Be certain to spell this, and all names, correctly.
3. The name of the theater company presenting the production.
4. The name of the physical theater in which you saw the play.
5. The date and time you saw the show.
6. The cost of the ticket, with a very short explanation of how you purchased it – online, at the ticket window at showtime, at the half-price booth in Union Square, etc.
7. The exact seat and row number you sat in (usually available on your ticket) with a brief description of its location in the theater.
8. If anyone you knew shared this experience with you, say who and give the reader a brief sense of their response as compared to yours.
The next section of your report should be a brief summary of the plot in five sentences. In the first sentence of this paragraph define the type of plot we saw, using terms from the “Continuity and Linearity” section of your text and associated CourseStream lecture. Place those terms in boldface. In the second sentence, incorporating boldfaced terms into you report, tell us the inciting incident of the play. In the third sentence, incorporating a boldfaced term into you report, describe the major incidents of conflict in the play. In the fourth sentence, incorporating a boldfaced term into you report, describe the climactic incident in the play. In a final sentence, incorporating the boldfaced term into you report, describe the denouement of the play. This paragraph should precisely five sentences long, no more and no less.
IIIa. Following that, in a single, concise, grammatically-correct second paragraph, employing one or more “qualities” (which you will, of course, place in boldface) from the “qualities of a fine play” section of your text, describe at least one strength of the play’s script.
The third section of your report, using a concise and clear single sentence, is a statement of the play’s theme, or meaning. Use this precise formula: “The meaning (for which you may substitute moral, or lesson if that is closer to your conception) of the play is xxxxxxxx.” Avoid slipping into naming motifs instead of themes by eliminating “weasel phrases,” like deals with, examines, and is about.
V. Character, described by function
This section of your report should concentrate on the character functions as agents of the action, not their relationships inside the play. Indicate in this section which character is the protagonist, which (if any) is/are the antagonist(s), and any other characters that play interesting special functions. (Sometimes there is a narrator or chorus figure, sometimes a character whose primary purpose is to serve as a counter-example to the protagonist called a foil, etc.) This should take you less than 200 words total. All terminology for character functions should be boldfaced.
VI. Literary Qualities (Aristotle’s Diction)
For this report this section should be very brief, one to two sentences only, but give a sense of the boldfaced major literary devices of the script, using at least one example.
VII. Music and Musicality (3 points)
If the play is a musical or opera, this section is apt to be extensive, but for most shows you will be discussing such lesser issues as background music, or the musicality of the actor’s voices. It is always worth noting music (even background music) that is performed live.
In another 250-500 words discuss the spectacle of the play. This is one of the two most important sections of your report. Spend time and effort to get it right.
Using vocabulary from the Designers and Technician’s chapter discussion on staging formats, pg. 97, name in boldface the format employed by this production in a complete, grammatically-correct sentence.
In a second concise and grammatically correct sentence describe the general look of the scenery using boldfaced terminology from the “scenery” section of your textbook (pgs. 101-104.) Be sure to credit the designer by name.
In a single, concise and grammatically correct sentence, employing boldfaced terminology from your textbook’s section on “Contemporary Lighting Design” (pg. 112-113), describe the lighting for the play. Make sure your answer credits the designer by name.
In a single, concise and grammatically correct paragraph, describe in detail the costuming for the play you saw. Be sure your answer credits the designer by name, discusses all the important costumes, and employs boldfaced concepts from Cohen’s discussion of the four functions of modern costume design that begins on page 121 of your text.
As discussed in our text and in the video, in addition to the usual six elements of a play, we also want to note how the conventions of the play work. Some conventions we want to be aware of: Plays that use mime, dance or acrobatic movement to convey a sense of objects that are not physically present, actors that play more than one character – especially if they change character in front of us instead of just re-entering as someone else, characters played by puppets – especially if the puppeteers are visible, visual elements that are metaphorical instead of realistic – for example the use of scaffolding in place of buildings, mixtures of presentational and representational performances, etc.
X. Acting and Directing
This is the other most important part of your report. Spend time and energy on this section of the report above all others.
In a single, concise and grammatically-correct paragraph, describe the specific performance of an actor applying terms and concepts, which you place in boldface, from the “Acting from the Inside” section of your text’s acting chapter.
In a single, concise and grammatically-correct paragraph, describe the specific performance of a different actor applying boldfaced terms and concepts from the “Acting from the Outside” section of your text’s acting chapter.
Direction can be both difficult to “see” in a finished performance, and hard to write about. Cohen suggests that one way to articulate the outcome of a director’s central task of conceptualizing a play is to state the concept of the play as a tagline. Using this approach, in a single, concise and grammatically-correct sentence, which in some manner identifies the director by name, state the concept of the play as a tagline. (See page 164 of your book for details about taglines.)
XI. Outstanding Moment
In a paragraph or less, describe the most outstanding moment of the production to you. Say specifically what happened in sufficient detail that someone who did not see the production would understand what occurred. Is this moment memorable because it produced a sense of pleasure or a sense of discomfort?
XII. The Event as Theater
In a section one paragraph in length, apply the “official class definition of theater” from the video in Unit One to the event you saw, and using the concepts from the discussion in Chapter One defend the proposition that this event was a piece of theater, as opposed to some other art form. Make sure you cover all six aspects of the definition. In particular spend time on concrete examples of impersonation in the play, citing specific moments in the play and how the actor accomplished them.
In a final paragraph, summarize the major ideas in your paper and provide any closing detail that relates to your thesis statement.
XIV. Works Cited
At the end of your report, attach a Works Cited page in MLA format. At minimum it will have the citation for the production program (Playbill) from which you draw your information about cast and crew names. (Always save it so that you have the information needed to discuss the creators and participants by name.) It should have citations for any other sources you used in constructing your paper as well. Be sure that all citations have the two parts: the MLA intext citation, as well as the citation of the Works Cited page.
One of the major objectives of the class is to learn to use MLA citation correctly. There are guides in the top center block of our class homepage on iLearn if you need help or reminders.
Compose your performance critique off-line, and retain a copy for your own reference. Submit the critique using the TurnItIn link found immediately below the location in which you found these instructions.