Before you write this paper, you should have read your Ferguson text at least through chapter three. Chapter two talks about the organization of a college paper, including the thesis and conclusion. I suggest you review that chapter and employ the use of an outline, which is discussed there—either before you write, or applied as an organizational tool after the fact to your first draft (which is how I usually work). Chapter three outlines the difference between a review and a formal response paper and contains what you need to know to write a successful formal paper.
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. The content of each response paper is purposely left somewhat open to your own observations and analysis. However, the primary question to address is: How did the realized production differ from or align with your perceptions of the written text?
A Production Response should demonstrate your understanding of and response to the the script and how the production served, or did not serve, the playwright's ideas. You should state this thesis in the introduction. If you felt that the production enhanced the ideas and characters in the script, you should say so in specific terms. Let the reader know what you are going to discuss. Focus on three or four discussion points.
Make use of any opportunity for conflict: "The arc of Elizabeth's character was clear in the script, but costume designer Gayle Buckley expressed the charachter's emotional collapse in a sequence of clever costume changes that made the character's increasing distress clearly visible." Then describe those costumes and why they had the effect they had. I'm interested in clear and specific description in support of an idea.
This essay requires critical thinking and analysis, but it is primarilyly about acute observation and description.
-The primary topic of this paper is: How did the realized production differ from or align with your perceptions of the written text—and did that a enhance or detract from the script?
-Three to four pages, page numbers, double spaced, one inch margins, twelve point font, appropriate research and/ or citations as needed.
-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 also take notes at any talk-back after the play 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.
-This paper is more formal than a review. Avoid slang, and informal forms of address. You may refer to characters by their first names, but the playwright, director, actors, designers, etc. should be referred to by first and last names or by their last name only.
-Keep the voice declarative and active; avoid the use of “I”. The insertion of "I" or "you" gets very repetitive and annoying because it is not only unnecessary (we know this is an essay by you), in some forms it makes it seem like you are excusing yourself ("It's only my opinion, but . . . "). It may be acceptable in a review (though it can be avoided there, too) but an essay is stronger without it. Tell me something, don't tell me that you are telling me something. State what you observed, compare it to what the author wrote, then assess whether it was successful or not and why.
Production Response Paper