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Each student will write a formal essay on a play or a film, analyzing the production’s use of the tools of the medium to communicate the ideas in and worldview of the piece to its community. (Critical Thinking Skills, Communication Skills, and Social Responsibility)

Critique: the objective is to give specific reasons on the aesthetic quality of the play and whether it works as a play to people who have seen it. Do not limit yourself to reacting to the play (“I loved it!” or “I hated it!”) and do not use generic terms like “incredible,” “wonderful,” “marvelous,” etc. You do not need to give an extensive plot summary; you do not need to hide plot information so as not to spoil the surprise of the viewer; BUT you DO need to be consistently analytical and critical.

  1. The format of the paper should include the following:
    1. Papers must be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12-point, with 1-inch margins on all sides, minimum two (2) pages. You are welcome to print front and back to save paper. I do not want a separate cover page because it uses resources.
    2. I am not requiring MLA or APA format. Because I am not requiring MLA or APA format, you are specifically asked to not use sources. Plagiarism is taken seriously. Again, I do not want a research paper. I want to know how you felt about the show you attended and why.
    3. Include your name, my name, date, and your class and section number on your paper. The order of this information is up to you.
    4. Please type your last name and page number on EACH page of your paper somewhere.

  1. The content of the paper should include the following:
  1. Introductory paragraph: name of the play and a short synopsis including major characters’ names.
  2. Body of the paper:
    1. The Playbill or Show Poster: what was your eye drawn to? What did you notice first? What did you expect the play to be about based on the playbill or poster? (Themes, character, setting) What mood did they set?
    2. Story Synopsis (try to keep it to 6 lines or less)
    3. What is the Theme or Themes of the play?
    4. Character: How strong is the acting? Is there depth to the characters? Is there clear character motivation?
    5. Structure and Plot: Is it predictable or unpredictable? Is the structure clear? Were the characters introduced appropriately? Was each scene a justifiable part of the arc and did it help move the story forward?
    6. Visual Presentation: Does it rely too heavily on dialogue and/or narration? Do the design components support and assist the storytelling? (Costumes, Set, Props, Lighting)
    7. Aural Presentation: If there is music, does the music support the storytelling or detract from it?
    8. Writing: Is the dialogue strong? Is the dialogue believable?
  3. Closing Paragraph: Rate the play according to the “Star System” and sum up for the reader whether they should waste their time on this play or not.

**** Outstanding Play. Ambitions to be more than an entertainment. Strong script. Well-made with elements of poetry (beauty) and a strong emotional impact on the viewer. A must-see play for everyone!

*** A Good Play that does not have quite the same aesthetic and emotional impact as the previous category. Interesting. Maybe intended primarily for entertainment, but with strong characters and some serious themes.

** An Acceptable Occasion for Spending $. Ordinary, falling within expected genre boundaries, perhaps depending mainly on song and dance for its audience impact. Probably well made, but has deficiencies in characterization, script, etc. that are obvious to the discerning viewer.

* Poor Example of a Play. How could someone spend any money and time to produce THAT? Plot line is predictable or incredible; characters are superficial; dialogue causes sniggering in the audience; actors might be miscast. You would probably walk out.


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