One place to start your search is the Play List page on our class Web site for a title. Choose a play that has been open at least a week to make sure a review has had time to appear. Or, you can go directly to reviews and just pick one as instructed below.direct.vtheatre.net/2008 calendar
Once you have decided on a play, the next step is to locate a review. A good place to begin this step is the Links page on our site. Links to local review sources such as the L.A. Weekly and Orange County Register are the best bet for local shows, but national sites such as Back Stage/West and Variety also cover L.A. shows under Regional headings. Not all Web sites have reviews for all plays, so keep searching--one of the purposes of this assignment is to acquaint you with these sites. The L.A. Times used to be my favorite place to send you, but is now charging for online content unless you are a seven-day-a-week subscriber to their daily paper. See links page for a way to get a free trial subscription to online content for this assignment.
Another excellent strategy is to go to the KCRW website and listen to a review. This is the local outlet for National Public Radio. Look for keywords Theatre Talk for local play reviews, then click on the speaker icon to listen. You can download the necessary free audio software from the page if you don't already have it installed. Or, you can listen live at 89.9 FM on Thursdays at 6:55 PM.
Warning: Make sure what you have found is a true review. Beware of "capsule" reviews which are brief edited-down versions of the full review. Also beware of news articles about an upcoming play which are not evaluations of it, or columns of stage news which mention the play. Oftentimes full reviews are labeled "Theatre Review" at the top. Another clue is that full reviews usually contain between 700-900 words
Once you have located a review, use your mouse to drag and select the text. Then copy and paste the text of the review into an e-mail message blank.
(Note: If you do the audio version of this assignment you do not have to include a copy of the review, just copy and paste the URL (web address) from the address bar of your browser into your e-mail message blank.) At this point I want you to find all the words, phrases, or concepts in the review that are unfamiliar to you. If you have copied the text into your e-mail you can try to flag the words in some way, but usually only retyping them in ALL CAPS will survive in e-mail that is sent to me.
At the top of your e-mail assignment, make a list of three or four of these words and phrases and do your best to look them up using standard references such as dictionaries or encyclopedias, either online or hard copy. Define or identify each word, and then speculate what you believe might be its meaning within the context of this review. In other words, what was the reviewer trying to say by using this word--this is essential for full credit. Be sure to also include in the list those words that you couldn't find meanings for. If the review does not contain any words you don't know, find a review that does. If you would like to see a sample of a well prepared assignment, click here.
Be sure to include the name of the Web site, the name of the reviewer, the name of the play, and the theatre at which it is appearing at the top of your assignment. A completed assignment will contain the unfamiliar words and phrases, their definitions, your opinion as to meaning, and either the text of the review or its URL.
Check your spelling and grammar, and send the assignment to me by the due date.
Note that when submitting the answer start the subject line with:
THR331 -- YourFirstAndLastName -- Play Review 200 words