Before you write this paper, you should have read your Ferguson text at least through chapter four.
As outlined in your Fergusen book, a discussion of production elements such as design, acting, direction, venue and audience are points to consider when writing your paper. Aside from discussing the points mentioned in your textbook, the elements of the “World of the Play” paper—point of view, style, environment, and imagery—are all possible lenses through which you may analyze the effectiveness of the production, as well. The content of each response paper is purposely left somewhat open to your own observations.
An analysis should demonstrate your understanding of the main ideas (themes) in the script and how the production served, or did not serve, those ideas. You should state this thesis early in the paper, probably in the introduction. If it is your point of view that a major theme of the script is, for instance, "a longing for the way things used to be and the disconnectedness of the human condition that is at the heart of such yearning", you should discuss how the production elements supported that idea.
As is true of all but the most expansive essays, decide what three or four elements were strongest or weakest in the production and focus on those things. Make use of any opportunity for conflict: "Location was clearly delineated in the script, but set designer Eric Levinson took us in another, more abstract, direction." I'm interested in depth and precision of analysis, not breadth of scope. All of your papers for me (and for most classes, I suspect) will be of a relatively limited page length, so this should be the strategy for all of your analyses.
The paper is not a review, but a more formal and considered analysis of the production and the script. Keep the voice declarative and active; avoid the use of “I” if possible. Remember that the subject here is the production as you perceive it, not you. An analysis is stronger if the voice stays focused on the subject and the details. "The story was strengthened by locating the set in a high school lecture hall with the lights only slightly dimmed because the audience could engage with the play's themes and actions in an environment familiar to everyone" is stronger than "I think that setting the play in a lecture hall was an interesting idea because, as an audience member, I had the feeling that I was back in highschool." Tell me something, don't tell me that you are telling me something.
-The primary topic of this paper is: Did the directorial approach/ production style employed support or detract from what you understand to be the playwright's intentions (which you will have arrived at through your reading of the text)?
-Three to four pages, page numbers, double spaced, one inch margins, twelve point font, appropriate research and/ or citations as needed, stapled in the upper left corner.
-Paper must have a clear introductory paragraph that states the particulars of the production and the main idea of the paper. You must also provide a concluding paragraph which “sums up” the observations and arguments of the paper.
-Wherever possible, support your ideas with quotes or specific examples from the performance. You should take notes during the play and at any talk-back and make use of them, as well.
-Do not just report what happened. Tell me why a certain change in the script, a directing or acting choice, or an element of the design affected how you understood or felt about the play. Be specific.
-Due dates are specified in the syllabus schedule.
Other Possible Discussion Points
-Were the artists all "working on the same show" or did some elements seem not to fit with the overall concept?
-Did one aspect of the production particularly stand out from the others? Was this appropriate?
-If the play was presented in translation or adaptation, was the translation/ adaptation effective?
-Did the design and technology of the production contribute to or detract from a satisfying experience?
-Have you read or seen other works by this playwright? How was this play or production different or similar?
- If it is a new play, what changes did the playwight make to the performance script and were those changes successful?
-What did the actor(s) and/or production design bring to the experience that highlighted themes or characters.
Production Analysis Paper