The world of the play paper should be, at most, four-five pages in length. Brevity does not preclude a richness of ideas and observations. Write a draft, reread it, edit it and pare it down to the essentials. Use it to refine how you think about the script. Say as much as you can in as few words as are absolutely necessary, while expressing your ideas completely.

The paper should be double-spaced, have one-inch margins, be in twelve-point font, have page numbers, and be supported by appropriate research and/ or citations as needed.  

Please include these headings in your writing, followed by your observations and discussions:

The story:

Tell the story briefly in less than 500 words. Don't get bogged down in extraneous details. Give the primary events and their effects on the characters. Give location, historical time, passage of time, and any other salient features that will help us to understand the story, but do not make it a list of plot items--tell me the story that the characters lived. This is objective, not subjective.

Point of view:

This is essentially a “thesis” statement telling us your point of view of the story. What do you see as the main argument? How is the story relative to our own time or to a contemporary audience? How does the setting relate to the telling of the story and the support of the argument? How do you feel about these people? This is subjective, not objective.


How is language used in the play—is it naturalistic or heightened? What are the tempos and rhythms of the language and of the structure of the scenes? What is the level of reality of the play—is it abstract, poetic, realistic?


(For below, note that "environment" is not the same as the "set", but a description of the elements that make up the physical, social, and emotional world in which the playwright has set the action. Environment affects the design elements, but it also affects the actors' understanding of the charachters' situation. These relate closely to the idea of the "given circumstances" in the play. Break your observations of environment into the following three types.)

    -Location/physical environment:  

What are the geographical information, date, season, time of day, weather? How is the physical environment arranged: spacious/confined, light/dark, organized/chaotic, etc.? How do these affect how you understand the play?

     -Emotional or intellectual environment:

May be expressed as objective elements such as composition, color, movement, etc. or, perhaps more effectively, as parallels or opposites such as interior/exterior, warm/cold, dark/light, oppressive/freeing, frightening/soothing, etc.?

    -Political or social environment:

What are the society, economics, culture, and politics of this world? What conflicts are there? What are the relationships between the characters? What are their personal traits that affect those relationshipes? Who has power over whom?

Visual imagery/ metaphor:

What imagery, metaphors, similes, or analogies does the playwright use in the text? How do they help to enrich your understanding of the place, the time, the characters, and the story? Is there an overarching image, or cluster of images, that keep appearing in the play?

World of the Play Paper