2 Writing About Theatre Reviewers vs. Critics Reviewers Reporters who write about plays for a daily newspaperStick to the 5 W’sWho?What?Where?When?Why?More opinion than fact.Consumers prefer a “review” more than a “critique” because they want a reviewer to help them make a decision.Many consumers will go against a reviewers opinion.
3 Writing About Theatre Continued CriticRefers to essayists who write critiques for weekly or monthly publications.Usually have more time to write carefully revised and analytical interpretations of plays.Should relate their experiences at a play to contemporary cultural concerns.Expected to be knowledgeable of the history of theatre and where it is headed.
4 Writing About Theatre Continued A well written critique should offer a brief synopsis of the play’s plot and major themes.Should identify key prominent actors, directors, or designers connected with the production.Should include a brief description of the directors interpretation.Actor’s performancesDesigner’s workAudience response.Uses examples from previously critiqued plays.Whether or not the play was a success and why.Would the general consumers want to see this play.All information included in a brief and concise report.
5 Writing About Theatre Continued Scholars vs. StudentsScholarsHistorical, analytical, and theoretical research.Write papers to contribute to our knowledge of theatre.Usually do most of the background research on a play, playwright, actor, director, etc..Dramaturges are usually scholars.Provide background information on the play and playwright.
6 Writing About Theatre Concluded StudentsBest to use Aristotle’s Unities and Six Elements.Try and be specific and give examples.General consumers will listen to a Student Critique over most professional critiques.
9 The Playwright’s Process IF PLAYWRIGHTING WERE EASY:Imagine a story and charactersDecide what parts of the story to include in the play.Plan out the plot or sequence of scenes.Write the dialogue and set the stage directions.Playwrighting is a creative endeavor that is far from predictable.The Creative JourneyPlaywrights work anywhere and everywhere, you never know when inspiration will hit you.Playwrights use visual elements to start writing, usually an image.Playwright must choose how the play will begin and end.Usually the playwright has to change over to a sequential process rather than a creative one.
10 The Playwright’s Process Plot StructureNext you must decide the plot or the sequence in which the selected scenes unfold.“The life and soul of the drama.”“Order of incident.”Three Plot StructuresLinear StructureMost common.Incidents of the plot are arranged in a sequential line.Arranged chronologically.Episodic Linear PlotJumps to and fro through timeContinuous Linear PlotFrom start to finish with no gaps.
11 The Playwright’s Process Continued 2. Cinematic StructureFlashbacks used.Non-chronological orderOrder of the structure of the plot is not the same as the order of events in the story.Can included multiple realities from the perspective of the central character.
12 The Playwright’s Process Continued 3. Contextual StructureVery rare.Usually a collection of short plays that have to relevance to one another.No cause-and-effect logic leads from one scene to another.The one thing that gives this type of play validity is that the short stories are all variations on the same subject.Most popular examples of this type of structure are the musical reviews or musical anthologies.Hardest to enjoy by the general consumer.
13 The Playwright’s Technique Choose a structureLinearCinematicContextualDetermine the sequence of events or order of scenes.Scenes are to plays like bricks are to a wall.IntroductionEarly scenesExposition or background information is delivered near the beginning although can come at later times in the play.Foreshadowing is usually established in the earlier scenes which gives you information to be used later in the play.
14 The Playwright’s Technique Continued CharactersIntroduced in the dialogue of the opening scenes and are the agents for the action.Status QuoThe “stable situation in the world of the play” is established.ActionAny event that changes the Status Quo.Any action on any level changes the Status Quo on that level.Door open to door closedA change of thought.
15 The Playwright’s Technique Continued A play imitates many small actions as it unfolds.The raw materials used to create a scene:DialogueDescriptionCharacterActionA scene is a small segment of an entire play where one conflict is introduced and resolved.The building block of making a play.The totality of small actions in scenes imitates a major action.The plot is the sequence of the totality of scenes; it take you on a journey from the status quo at the beginning of the play to the changed circumstances at the end.
16 The Playwright’s Technique Continued To help understand a play:Analyze its plot.Which structure does it have?The Dramatic QuestionWhat is the answer to the question of the play?Usually comes at the end of the introduction.Inciting EventMarks the end of the introduction where the Dramatic Question is hypothetically asked not literally, well sometimes literally.Rising ActionUsually marks the asking of the Dramatic Question in which events complicate the plot and heighten our suspense.
17 The Playwright’s Technique Continued Crisis or Turning Point¾ of the way into a play.An event happens that changes the course of the story and leads to the answer to the Dramatic Question.Usually a decision made by the central character.Falling ActionIs a result of the Dramatic Question being answered.The plot begins to “fall” toward the ending.Known as the “Resolution” or “Denouement”.ConclusionVery brief.Last part of the playUnresolved questions usually answered.New status quo established.
18 The Playwright’s Tools DialogueDescribes the speeches that characters say.Playwright’s primary tool.Stage DirectionsTells the actors what their characters do feel at particular moments.Used to shape what the audience experiences in a performance.Characters“Agent for the action.”Needed in order for dialogue to be heard and action seen.Give body and coherence to the dialogue and the descriptions.ActionEvents that lead to a change in the status quo.
19 The Play Script's Themes and Meaning An abstract idea that exists outside the play as well as within it.Can be discussed and written about.Examples:“The Glass Menagerie” a theme could be:Love between siblings is more lasting than a mother’s love.“Waiting for Godot” a possible theme is:Has God abandoned man?MeaningPlaywright’s major concern or idea expressed through the plot of the play.Easy to figure out. (Top of page 97)
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