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A good theatre writer is part REPORTER and part THEATRE CRITIC. A reporter observes facts and details. A critic offers EDUCATED analysis. Use the vocabulary and tools of analysis you have learned so far. What kind of theatre are you in? What’s the stage configuration? Is the play a comedy, tragedy, or something else? Is the plot climactic or episodic? What’s the dramatic conflict? What is the diction of the play? What is the thought? Length: 1000-1200 WORDS (four pages at 20 lines/page in 12-point type); use your computer word counter. Papers under 950 words or over 1200 words will lose a point. Writing style: INDENT the first line of each paragraph. Write play titles in Italics each time you write them. The paper has EIGHT REQUIRED SECTIONS The Eight Required Sections 1. Heading A creative title (not the name of the play), centered on the page. 2. Introductory paragraph (ONE paragraph 50 words MAXIMUM) to include: a. NAME of the play in Italics each time you write it; b. NAME of the author; c. NAME of the translator (if any) and/or adaptor (if any); d. NAME of the director (the director is NOT the adapter unless identified as such); e. NAME of the composer (only if there is original music); f. WHO presented the play (or name of the theatre) Example: The Theatre presented Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, translated by Jonathan Abarbanel. It was directed by Julie Taymor, who gave the 1879 classic a contemporary setting. Example: The Theatre was turned into a Depression Era St. Louis tenement apartment for its latest show, The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, presented by the School of Theatre & Music and directed by Michigan J. Frog with original music by Max Wiley. 3. Plot Summary: ONE paragraph 200 words MAXIMUM. Write to someone who has not seen/read the play can understand the story and know the key characters. Do not analyze story or characters, just state who, what, when, where. State WHEN and WHERE the play takes place. See example at the end of these instructions. 4. Language: ONE paragraph 150 words MAXIMUM discuss the language of the play. Is it in prose or verse (rhymed or unrhymed)? If you’re not sure, you’ll need to find and look at the play in print. Is the dialogue—the way people speak—realistic or is it stylized in some way? Does the author use, say, techniques of rap or street slang? Is it funny and fast or does it have a lot of long speeches? Does the author use vivid images and colorful language, or is the vocabulary very ordinary? Is there a chorus? (NOTE: just ignore if there isn’t a chorus; don’t waste words saying “There isn’t a chorus.”) Quote an example or two from the play if you can. 5. Theme(s) and characters: SEVERAL paragraphs 350 word MINIMUM. This is the MOST IMPORTANT section and the longest section. It should be at least 350 words (30 lines minimum; use your word counter). Be specific, not general. Use DETAILS of actions and characters to support your discussion. Use QUOTATIONS from the play, if you can. Use YOUR ideas, not ideas from secondary sources. There is no right or wrong, only the case you make for your own thinking. Remember, the theme (or themes) is the central intellectual idea. Theme and story are NOT the same things. Answer these questions: WHY DID THE PLAYWRIGHT WRITE THIS PLAY? WHAT IS HE/SHE TRYING TO TELL ME? WHICH CHARACTERS REFLECT THE THEME(s) AND HOW? 6. Spectacle: ONE paragraph 150 words MAXIMUM. Discuss ONE major spectacle element such as scenery, lighting, costumes, projections (if any) or movement/choreography (if important) and how it does or does not make the play clearer to you. Be sure to include the NAME of the designer or choreographer (or movement coach) if you discuss his/her work. Do NOT include the names of the building crew or the running crew. They are not the designers. A point will be deducted if you do not acknowledge the designer (or choreographer, etc.). Discuss how the spectacle element works with the play (or doesn’t). Use SPECIFIC DETAILS to describe things. Be a reporter. Don’t say costumes were “old-fashioned.” Say the dresses had high necks and low hems, were patterned or not, had feathers or beads, were color-coded to suit each character, etc. Tell me the year, era or century in which the play is set, based on the scenic and costume designs, such as “Roaring Twenties” or 18th Century or Biblical era, etc. Don’t say the set was “a house.” Is it brick or wood, a hut or castle, city or suburban, interior or exterior, modern or old? ONE PARAGRAPH. NOTE: “Props” or properties means things people hold in their hands: weapons, a suitcase, books, glassware, a purse, etc. Furniture is part of scenic design, not props. 7. Acting: ONE paragraph 100 words MAXIMUM. Discuss one actor performing a major role. Use the name of the actor, and then the role he/she played. Was the performance believable and convincing or not? Discuss the work of the actor; do not analyze the character. You don’t have to like the actor, but you must say WHY you thought he/she was good or bad. Again, there’s no right or wrong. It’s your reaction and thinking I want to understand. An actor (we don’t use actress) can be female or male or gender-neutral. NOTE: this paragraph, including this line, is 100 words. 8. Concluding paragraph. In 50 words or less, explain why I should/shouldn’t see this show. Again, try to be specific – don’t just say you “liked” it, so I will. Tell me why I should go.

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