Option 1 for the Short Paper: Play Review Paper Assignment

In 2-3 pages, please write a review using the criteria below. By the deadline, you will upload your paper via SafeAssign Dropbox. It must be typed in a Word document it must be double-spaced and 12-point font. If you use sources other than your brain and the play itself (which, you will cite as your source, see below) you must cite it fully and properly.

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You do NOT have to watch a play we are reading in class, in fact, I prefer that you do not!

FOR CITATIONS (From the MLA Website):
To cite a recorded performance of a play, follow the MLA format template.
If you watched the recording on a Web site, list the Web site as the container, the name of the site’s publisher–if different from the Web site’s title–and the URL:
Example: Munby, Jonathan, director. The Merchant of Venice. By William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s Globe, Shakespeare Globe Trust, 2017,
If you watched the recording on a DVD, Example: Radford, Michael, director. The Merchant of Venice. By William Shakespeare, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 2005. DVD.
Criteria for the paper:

Plays were meant for the stage not the page! On that principle, watch a staged performance that was taped for broadcast. This is NOT a movie! This is a live theatre performance that has been taped.

It is not enough to just state your emotional feelings towards the play (it was good, terrible, meh) although you are welcome to include them. I want you to dig deeper and explore specific elements of the production similarly to how we analyze the themes, mise-en-scene, characters, etc. in class.

Feel free to use this template to craft your review:

Introduction: Sets up the play. Who is the playwright? What company is putting on this play? What is the context of the production (The Globe Theatre, A touring show, Broadway)?

Execution: How is the play executed? What is the director’s vision? What is unique about the interpretation? What’s the style? Is it natural? Surreal? Absurd? Melodramatic? Musical? How do the individual parts fit together to make a whole?

Specifics: Is there anything unique about this production? Who is the director? What else have they done? Who are the leads? Is this a premiere or a remount?

Opinion: Is the production successful in its execution? Why or why not? Is there something out of place within the individual parts (lights, sound, set, costuming, vision, acting)? What stands out? Does the acting bring the play to life? Does the vision suit the intention of the play?

Recommendation: Is this play worth seeing? Why or why not?

Remember to use people’s full names and their character names. Be specific! Specificity gets you the A! And, DO NOT give away the ending. Would you go to a movie if you already knew the ending? NO, same with theatre.

To help you with this project, please read the following guide before writing your review. This is all taken from: consult this excellent site should you want further help with this project.

What is a review?
A review is a subjective but educated response to a piece of theatre.
What is the purpose of a review?
A review gives a potential audience member context for a production. Most people want to know if they should spend their hard-earned money on a ticket. Is this show any good? If it is, what makes it good? If it’s not, what makes the show falter?
What should we learn from a review?
A review should describe the situation of a play without giving too much information about the plot. It should address the production elements individually and how they work together as a whole. It should express an opinion supported by thoughtful analysis.
What’s the difference between a well-written and a poorly-written review?
Is the reviewer able to discern the vision of the production and the execution of that vision?
Is the reviewer able to analyze the production in terms other than like/dislike?
Is the reviewer able to see the production’s value and/or appeal despite their subjective response?
Does the reviewer support their views with examples? For example, if they don’t like an actress’ performance do they explain why? Do they offer evidence to support their opinions?
Does the reviewer let their personal opinion of a play color their review?
Does the reviewer acknowledge the audience reaction particularly if it differs from their own reaction?

How do I write a good review?
Go see a show and write down your thoughts. What is your experience? Get in the habit of explaining why you like something and why you don’t. Your ability to explain why you feel the way you do about a performance will add to your review’s effectiveness.
Read other reviews of shows you’ve seen and reflect on how those reviewers used (or didn’t use) their expertise to share their experience of the play. The more you read the works of others, the more you’ll be able to define your own style of writing.

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