Critique of Acting, Directing, or Design of a Play

Critique of Acting, Directing, or Design of a Play

Guidelines for Paper 2

You second paper is about any LIVE THEATRE PLAY of your choosing. You have a choice of topic. You can write about what was effective or ineffective about the acting, directing, or the design.

1. Acting: This is an acting critique, so your focus will be the work of the actors. Do not critique the script or discuss themes or symbolism. Actors can’t deviate from their lines and they can’t act symbolism. Here are some elements to consider in your paper: How effective was the actor in pursuing what the character wants as opposed to simply showing emotion? How was their physicality and/or vocal work? Specifically, how did the actor use their hands, eyes, brows, pitch, breath, cadence, etc. to effectively (or ineffectively) convey the complexities of their role? What were some of their best moments and why? How did this add to your understanding of the story or the themes of the play?

All papers will begin with a short introductory paragraph which will end with a THESIS STATEMENT, the position you are taking about the performances.

Example of a Solid Thesis: While Jane Smith’s voice added gravitas to the role of Mary, I found that Henry Winter’s body language was too relaxed for the stern Captain Carl.

2. Directing: If you write about the work of the director, you could discuss elements such as the quality of the casting, the production concept, the blocking, and/or the stage pictures. Revisiting the directing chapter will help you greatly. Be sure to refer to the director by name.

Example of solid thesis: Director Troy McClure made several effective casting choices but his director’s concept, setting the play in an apocalyptic future, seemed forced and did little to illuminate the play.

3. Design: If you write about the work of the designers (set, costume, lighting or sound), concentrate on one or two design elements. Exhaust your opinions about one designer before moving on to another. Don’t try to do them all. Be sure to refer to the designer by name.

Example of solid thesis: Set designer June Riviera effectively used a vivid color scheme to create the world of the play and Carl Johnson’s costumes made strong statements about each character.

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