Attending a Live Comedic Theater Production & Writing a Production Analysis
Note: This assignment may be completed at any time before the last week of class. However, you should start researching what you want to see right away so you can select the show you want to see well in advance and get your tickets. Give yourself as many options as possible so you can attend a production you’ll enjoy.
- For this assignment you are going to go out and see a LIVE COMEDIC THEATRE production sometime over the semester and write about it. You can choose which production you want to see. The guidelines are that it must be scripted (except if you see comedic improvisation), and it cannot be a high school production (or middle school or elementary school). To prove that you have seen the play, you are going to take a photo of yourself inside or outside of the theatre that proves you were there, and embed the photos into the bottom of your play analysis that you are going to write. You will also need to include a caption which states the name of the production, the date, where you saw it, and the theatre company who produced it. SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY’s productions this semester are located here: http://www.sjsu.edu/filmandtheatre/production-season/index.html (Links to an external site.). You are not required to see the plays at SJSU–you can see plays of your choosing and at locations that are closer to you. If you live in the Bay Area you can also go to the Theatre Bay Area (Links to an external site.) webite for a current list of what is playing. I have also provided a file (under this one in the Modules section at the TOP of the modules) which lists comedic performances in San Jose. Many are close to campus.
- Attend the selected production and enjoy the show!
- Now write the analysis of the production following these directions:
Directions for Writing the Analysis:
Keep your program so that you will have the correct spelling of the names of the characters and the actors, the directors, and the designers.
The paper is going to be written in MLA formatting. MLA formatting includes the following:
- Choose an easily readable font.
- Titles are italicized when used in your writing. (Example: Picasso at the Lapine Agile)
- Paper is left justified.
- Margins are 1” on all sides: top, bottom, left and right.
- Pages are numbered in the upper right hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. The student’s last name only is typed before the page number on each page.
- I have put in the correct heading for you to use on the first page.
- Paragraphs are indented one half inch, or 5 spaces.
- There are no extra spaces between paragraphs. Make sure you have “removed the space after paragraph” on your “home” bar under “paragraph.”
- There is no title page in MLA formatting.
- Your writing should be in an ESSAY format with complete sentences and correct grammar and punctuation. Use SPELL CHECK!!!
Further Information on MLA Formatting can be found at:
The Owl at Purdue (Links to an external site.) ( Or, you can Google this, then follow the links to MLA Formatting Guide).
PLEASE USE THE FOLLOWING FORMAT FOR YOUR PAPER–Please use all subtitles you see (Introduction, Discussion, Conclusion) as it will help you to organize your thoughts.
Your Name Goes Here
Dr. Kathie Kratochvil
TA13–Comedies of Theatre
The Date Goes Here
The Title of Your Paper Goes Here
In this paragraph you will write an introduction to the play. Include the title of the play, where you saw it, the theatre company who produced it, who directed it, when you saw it. You will need to capture the reader’s attention in a way that “hooks” the reader into your essay. In this paragraph also include the time period and setting of the play, and what you believe to be the intention of the play. What is the play trying to do or communicate to an audience? What subjects, topics, and themes did the play address? What are the play’s fundamental ideas? Keep this short, concise, and to the point.
In this paragraph you will need to write a clear and concise thesis statement which will outline at least three major points to be made in the body of the paper. Your thesis statement is very specific and should cover only what you will discuss in this paper. You will support this thesis statement with evidence in the coming paragraphs. The thesis statement should make several claims and is your overall opinion and interpretation of the play. Your goal is to convince your reader that your claim is true based on the evidence you will provide in subsequent paragraphs. For example, “Wicked was an extraordinary play, with excellent acting, superb set design, and well designed costumes.” Were the artisans successful in what they were trying to do? Put yourself out on a limb and offer your opinion!
In this paragraph examine the directing components. How did the director artistically compose the play? How did she interpret the play? How did the overall movement patterns and blocking contribute to your understanding of the play and its’ significant messages or themes? Did the themes come through? How? When? Give the reader specific examples of directorial choices and why they were successful (or not).
In this paragraph examine the acting elements. Concentrate on character believability and truthfulness; use of voice, diction and clarity; use of accents; and the physical aspects of portraying the characters. Which actors were successful in interpreting, developing, and performing their character? Why were they successful? Which actors were not successful? Why were they not successful? Did any of the actors enchant you with any particular performance skills, emotional power, or breathtaking performances? What stood out to you and why? Remember that an actor portrays a character. The character itself is written by the playwright and does not make acting choices. Only the actor can do this. Specifically name the actor and the character they were portraying. For example, “Johnny Depp was very successful in his interpretation of the character, Captain Jack Sparrow, because of…” You may need to use several paragraphs if you are analyzing several different characters. Use examples for every opinion that you offer. Do not just say the actor was good or bad. Tell the reader why their acting was effective or not effective. Remember that you are writing an analysis!
In this paragraph (and perhaps one or two more) examine the technical elements. Choose several. This can include the set design, lighting design, sound and music design, special effects, make-up and hair design, costume design, etc. How did each technical element (that you choose) contribute to the overall artistic composition and theme(s) of the play? Write a separate paragraph for each technical element you are examining. Again, give evidence and support every claim you make.
This paragraph is your opportunity to prove to your reader that your thesis is true. In high school most of us were taught to do a summary in the conclusion. In college papers you must go a step beyond this. The conclusion is the place where you ANALYZE. Think of yourself as a lawyer. You have laid out all of the evidence to prove your points so far in this paper. Now, you must convince the jury that your evidence is correct and true, and bring them into your way of thinking. You may include some “summing up” but this paragraph should not be a summary of the rest of the paper. It should be thoughtful and comprehensively express your final arguments.
Embed your photos of the production you saw here with captions. NOT NEEDED IF YOU SAW A FILM.
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