Play Critique/Production Essay Guidelines
The following are the plays and the guidelines for your play critique.
In the paper you need to cover ALL the following areas: acting, directing, design (set,
light, costume, sound, hair and makeup). With all of these areas, talk about what you found was
effective and ineffective. Who stood out to you and why? What was effective or ineffective
about them? What about the show was a whole? What was the message of the show? What
themes did you find in the show? THIS IS NOT A PLOT SUMMARY. I do not need or want
you to just talk about the plot or give me a play-by-play of the show. I saw the show as well.
You can touch on the plot, but I am much more interested in your opinion of the show (and all its
various aspects). Also, you cannot just refer to someone by their character name or their
title (director, designer, etc.). You are expected to give credit to the actor, director or
designer by using their name, which must be spelled correctly (or at least how it was
spelled in the program). You will LOSE POINTS if you do not do so. You will also lose
points if you do not talk about the acting, the design AND the direction!!
PLEASE BE AWARE – The designers are listed at the TOP of the program, and
will say something like “Light Designer … Matt Schleicher”, etc. Do NOT list the Design
Advisor or Crew Members. These people did NOT design the show, and you will have
points deducted from your paper for incorrectly listing this information.
In your paper, don’t forget YOUR reaction and to the performance itself. THIS IS
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART! How do you react to this play? How does the message
of the play affect you individually? Discuss directorial choices, design choices, acting choices
… anything that you had a reaction to. Be as specific as you can be, and use specific examples
from the performance to illustrate your point. You don’t have to love the play or even like it, but
you need to be able to support your arguments. So just saying “I loved this play” or “I hated it”
or “it was all right” won’t cut it – tell me WHY you are having the reactions you are having.
Each paper will be 700-1200 words long, MAXIMUM of 1200 words. This paper is not
a just plot summary or a book report. Plot is very important, but it is only one of the many
areas you need to discuss. I want to hear YOUR reactions to this performance.
If you do not give credit to the designers by name, you will automatically have TEN
POINTS deducted from your grade. Mentioning only some of the designers but not all when
then incur a partial deduction. If you do not give credit to the director by name, you will
automatically have EIGHT POINTS deducted from your grade. If you do not give credit to the
actors by name, you will automatically have FIFTEEN POINTS deducted from your grade.
NOTE: This does NOT MEAN that you have to talk about EVERY SINGLE ACTOR in the show. Some of the shows have 30 actors – you do not need to talk about them all.
Each critique will be worth 50 points. NO late papers will be accepted.