Play/Film Reviews

(7 points each)

Guidelines: Head all review papers with the following information

Your Name
Title of Play or Film
Place Seen
Date Seen
Ticket Stub is: included, attached, e-mailed separately, turned in at class (pick one)
For each review assignment select four or five of the questions listed. Write a paragraph on each question in your review. Copy the number and the question you are answering at the beginning of each paragraph. Be sure to review the chapters and lectures cited at the end of the questions for concepts before beginning to write--it is essential that your answers refer explicitly to concepts from the textbook and/or lecture. Do not waste space retelling the entire plot (story) of the play or film.

Not all questions are appropriate for all plays or films. Don't pick a question that deals with things that are not well represented in the particular play or film you are writing about. Some questions are more challenging than others--I give special consideration to those who attempt them. Just as in Olympic diving, degree of difficulty counts!

In the subject line put your class, names, and assignment (THR# --Jamie Gomez--Rev# 1). Bring your ticket stub with your name on it to the next test class meeting. No grade will be recorded without a ticket. If you know how to scan your signed ticket you may attach it to your e-mailed assignment as a JPEG image.

Length: Each review will be 700 words not counting the questions

Spacing: single-spaced if an e-mail message or double-spaced if an attached document

Font: Courier 12, Times 14 or Helvetica 12 point font.

When referring to them in your paper, put titles of plays/films or published works in italics. E-mail yourself a copy of your paper as proof it was submitted on time in case original is lost.

Still feeling unsure about what I want? Check the example papers page.

Review #1: Art Film (from Film List)
Always re-read the Guidelines before beginning to write

Evaluate the characteristics and mood of the audience and its reaction to the film. Give examples of specific moments of audience reaction that you found interesting, surprising, or inexplicable. (Chap. 1) In what ways, if any, was the imagination of the audience challenged? Give some examples of realism and nonrealism in the stylistic elements of this film. Remember, realism and nonrealism are not the same thing as believeable and unbelieveable--it has to do with the visual style of the film rather than the story. Be sure to review the lecture and chapter cited before attempting to answer this question. (Lecture 9 & Chap. 1)
Compare how some of your expectations about this film were met or not met when you saw it. (Chap. 2)
Select the actor whose work seemed most believable to you. Try to determine and explain the specific techniques to actor used to produce this effect upon you. Discuss this actor's use of "special skills." (Chap. 6)
What was the spine of this film? You should be able to state it in a single declarative sentence--it is not a plot summary! Use the rest of your answer to explain and justify your choice of spine. Hint: sometimes, not always, analyzing and explaining the title of the film can help. (Chap. 7)
Speculate upon which purpose(s) that you believe that the screenwriter and/or director may have wished this film to serve. Be sure to use only the specific purposes mentioned in the book or lecture. (Lecture 6 & Chap. 8)
Describe some of the characteristics that make this "art" or independent film different from the typical Hollywood feature.
Do some background research on the film or director and describe how it influenced your understanding of it. Be sure to indicate what sources you consulted in your research. This counts as two questions.
Find a review of this film in a newspaper or on the web, and compare and contrast the reviewer's opinion with your own. You must paste in a copy of the review you found at the end of your paper. This counts as two questions.
Caution: a capsule review such as those on E! Online won't cut it. Get a "real" one; you should know the difference by now. Also, the pasted in review doesn't count toward your 700 words.

Review #2: Cerritos College Play - (see Play List "On Campus" section)
Always re-read the Guidelines before beginning to write

Give some examples of realism and nonrealism in the elements of this production. (Chap. 1)

Discuss some of your expectations concerning this performance, and how they were met or not met by the show. (Chap. 2)

Select the actor whose work seemed most believable to you. Try to determine and explain the specific techniques to actor used to produce this effect upon you. Discuss this actor's use of "special skills." (Chap. 6) What was the spine of this play? Explain your answer. (Chap. 7)

Speculate upon which purpose(s) that you believe that the playwright may have wished this play to serve. (Chap. 8)

Identify the play by its genre(s). Justify your choice(s) by giving specific examples from the play which demonstrates the attributes of the form.

Note: if this play is a Musical, what other genre is it? Musical-tragedy? Musical-comedy? etc. (Chaps. 9, 10 & Lecture #11a or Lecture #11b) In a musical, music and dance can do more than just entertain. If this play is a musical, describe how the music did any of the following: help develop or clarify character, create emotional impact, advance the plot (story). (Chap. 11)

Identify examples of obstacles, complications, crises, and climax in this play. (Chap.14 & Lecture 15a)

Find some examples of the forms of conflict. Remember, conflict can occur between characters as well as the self, with groups, and with objects or ideas. (Chap. 14 & Lecture 15b)

Review #2a: Children's or Youth Play--option for Teacher TRAC only
Always re-read the Guidelines above before beginning to write

Choose any two or three of the questions above for Review #2, plus you must answer this one:

What did you see that could be of use to you as a teacher, and how would you use it in your teaching? Consider not only the content of the play, but how it was staged.

(see bottom of Play List page for how to find an appropriate children's play)

Review #3: Professional Theatre Play
(Note: This must be any play produced at the theatre that you are studying for your group's Theatre Report assignment. Each group member writes their own independent play review.)

Always re-read the Guidelines before beginning to write

Why did this theatre choose to do this play and does this play fit into the artistic philosophy of this company? (hint: look in the program; ask someone who works there) Do you agree with the choice? Why or why not?

What, in your opinion, distinguishes this theatre company from others? What makes it different or unique?

If you were the director, what would you do to improve this production? (Remember that the director cannot change the script.) If you were the artistic director, what would you do to improve this theatre company? (Chap. 7)

Evaluate how well the scenery designer met each of the objectives of scene design. Did the scenery design help you to understand the play? How would you describe its style?(Chap. 16)

Evaluate how well the costume designer met each of the objectives of costume design. How well did the costumes help to define the characters?(Chap. 17)

Adolphe Appia said: "Light is to the production what music is to the score: the expressive element in opposition to the literal signs; and, like music light can express only what belongs to the inner essence of all vision's vision." Describe the ways lighting in this production functioned to express the emotional and/or inner essence of the play. Pay particular attention to such functions as mood, rhythm, style, and focus (the angle and direction) (Chap. 18)

Find and describe examples of each of the categories of characters (i.e., extraordinary, exceptional, prototypical, stock, minor, etc.) that may appear in these plays. Justify your choices. (Chap. 13)

Describe the relationship of two characters in the play. How did the actors communicate the nature of this relationship to you. (Chaps. 6 & 13)

What configuration is this theatre? Discuss the impact of this configuration upon your experience with this play. (Chap. 4)

Do some background research on the play or playwright and describe how it influenced your understanding of the performance. Cite the sources (URLs) of your research. Counts as two questions.

What was your favorite line from the play and why did you like it so much? In a musical, music and dance can do more than just entertain. If this play is a musical, describe how the music did any of the following: help develop or clarify character, create emotional impact, advance the plot (story). (Chap. 11)

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