Theatre Report

Below is a condensed version of “How to Write a Theatre Report” .  If you can answer these essential questions using the textbook for support and referencing examples from the production you saw, you should do well on the critique.  it should be 2-3 pages in length, 12 pt. font! Do NOT re-tell the plot….see info below:)What Makes a Good Theater Report?A good theater report depends on content (what’s in the paper), structure (how the paper is organized), and usage (conventions of writing and presentation). A sample report—with comments and corrections by an instructor—is shown at the end of this handbook.ContentA good theater report is a combination of subjective responses—how you “felt” about the event—and objective analysis and support for your feelings. Just saying that you liked or disliked a production is not enough. The key question is always “Why?” For example, you may have hated a performer in a production, but noting that you hated him or her is not enough for a report. Why did you feel this way? Was the actor totally unlike the character? Did the actor fail to enunciate the lines clearly? Did the actor convey emotions that seemed inappropriate to the dramatic action? Did he or she move inappropriately or clumsily onstage? Did he or she seem not to understand or express the character’s motivation? These are the kinds of questions you will need to answer in order to substantiate your opinion about the performance, and you will have to support each answer by describing some specific aspect of the performance.StructureLike a good play, a good theater report has a clear beginning, middle, and end.At the beginning, you should state your point of view; you may also indicate how you felt about the production in general or about the specific elements you will discuss. Sometimes a good paper can begin with a striking image or an idea which you believe to be at the heart of the theatergoing experience. The most important characteristic of the beginning of a successful paper is that it gives a strong sense of what you consider significant about your experience.The middle of your paper should contain all the evidence and analysis that substantiates the viewpoint expressed in the beginning. This would include specific examples and details from the production. The more specific and analytical this section is, the more successful the paper will be. Through your description and analysis, the reader should be able to visualize important and representative moments in the production.At the end of your paper, you should recapitulate your point of view and find some way to leave the reader with a clear sense of the conclusions you have drawn. As with the beginning of a paper, it can be effective to close the paper with a vivid image or idea. Remember that your conclusion will be the last impression left with your reader.Key Questions for a Theater ReportThese questions are intended as a guide for writing a theater report. You can use them to help you focus your thoughts about the various elements of a production. Note that you should keep the specific assignment in mind, since some instructors will ask you to write about particular elements whereas others may ask you to evaluate the entire production. In either case, however, these questions should prove helpful.Acting1.Were the actors believable, given the requirements of the play? If they were believable, how did they seem to accomplish this? If they weren’t believable, what occurred to impair or destroy believability? (As you discuss this, be sure to separate the performer from the role. For example, you can dislike a character but admire the performance.)2.Identify the performers you considered most successful. Citing specifics from the production, note what they did well: particular gestures, lines, or moments. Try to describe each performer so as to give the reader a clear image.  For example, how did the performer’s voice sound? How did he or she interpret the role? How did they use their body in performance? Were you able to hear and understand the actors? Did they use clear articulation and strong projection?3.If there were performers you did not like, identify them and explain why you did not like them. Give concrete examples to explain why their performances were less successful.4.Acting is more than a collection of individual performances. The entire company needs to work as a unit (this is sometimes called ensemble): each actor must not only perform his or her own role but also support the other performers. Discuss how the performers related or failed to relate to one another. Did they listen to each other and respond? Did any actor seem to be “showing off” and ignoring the othersDirecting1.The director unifies a production and frequently provides an interpretation of the text. Did there seem to be a unifying idea behind the production? If so, how would you express it? How were you able to see it embodied in the production? Was it embodied in striking images or in the way the actors developed their performances? (You should be aware that this can be one of the most difficult aspects of a production to evaluate, even for very experienced theatergoers.)2.Did all the elements of the production seem to be unified and to fit together seamlessly? How was this reflected, in particular, in the visual elements—the scenery, costumes, and lighting?3.How did the director move the actors around onstage? Were there any moments when you felt that such movement was particularly effective or ineffective?  Were entrances and exits smooth? Was the action focused clearly and easy to follow?4.Did the pace or rhythm of the production seem right? Did it drag or move swiftly? Did one scene follow another quickly, or were there long pauses or interruptions?5.Were the actors cast appropriately to their respective parts? Did characters fit together in believable family groups, relationships, etc.Space1.What type of theater was it? How large or small was it? How opulent or elaborate? How simple or modern? What type of stage did it have: proscenium, thrust, arena, or some other type? How did the stage space relate to audience seating?2.What was the size and shape of the playing space?3.What sort of atmosphere did the space suggest? How was that atmosphere created?4.Did the space seem to meet the needs of the play? Did it affect the production, and if so, how?Scenery1.What information was conveyed by the scenery about time, place, characters, and situation? How was this information conveyed to you?2.What was the overall atmosphere of the setting?3.Did any colors dominate? How did colors affect your impression of the theater event?4.Was the setting a specific place, or was it no recognizable or real locale? Did that choice seem appropriate for the play?5.If the setting was realistic, how effectively did it reproduce what the place would actually look like?6.Were there symbolic elements in the scenery? If so, what were they? How did they relate to the play?Costumes/Hair and Makeup1.What information was conveyed by the costumes about time, place, characters, and situation? How was this information conveyed to you?2.What was the period of the costumes? What was the style? Were the costumes from a period other than the period in which the play was written or originally set?  If so, how did this affect the production? Why do you think this choice was made?3.How was color used to give you clues to the personalities of the characters?4.Did each character’s costume or costumes seem appropriate for his or her personality, social status, occupation, etc.? Why or why not?5.Did the costumes help you understand conflicts, differing social groups, and interpersonal relationships? If so, how?6.Did the hairstyles reflect the time period and help establish characters? 7.Was the makeup appropriate for the time period? Did it work to convey the character’s facial expressions? Was there any special effects makeup used in the production?

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