Your first paper will be a critique of the work of two or three actors in a recording of a LIVE PLAY.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, we will be viewing PLAYS online (not films, but videos of live performances).
Digital Theatre Plus is a subscription service which the University has created a log-in for its students:
PS: Log in information to the following website will be given once you accept the assignment.
LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY is a satire about the vulnerabilites we face in the world of social media and Facebook. https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/education/collections/australian-national-theatre-live/liberty-equality-fraternity (Links to an external site.)
BILLY THE KID is the life of an English footballer told through his eyes at 80 years old. https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/education/collections/digital-theatre/billy-the-kid (Links to an external site.)
When you write your paper, make sure you cite the production location link, theatre, director, and any other reference.
This is an acting critique, so your focus will be on the performances. Do not critique the script or the production as a whole or discuss themes or symbolism. Instead, consider the actors’ effectiveness in portraying their characters’ circumstances, what they want, and how they are trying to get it. Evidence of their effectiveness can be found through their physical and vocal choices, their interaction with other actors and their pursuit of getting what their character wants.
All papers will begin with a short introductory paragraph which will end with a THESIS STATEMENT, a sentence that states what you will prove in your paper.
Example of a Solid Thesis (last sentence in paragraph 1):
Although Jane Smith delivered an inspired performance as Mary, I found that Henry Winter’s Carl lacked passion and depth.
A Weak Thesis:
Just about everybody was very good in the play.
You will support your opinions with evaluations of specific moments from act one and two. Remember, the actor’s tools are their voice, body, and interpretation of the lines. Be specific, such as “In the opening scene where she found her childhood toy, Smith leaned down and whispered in a shaky voice as she wrung her hands which showed the emotional pain of her character.”
All papers must be two pages, typed, 12-point Times Roman font, and double-spaced with one inch margins. To avoid software cross-platform problems, submit your paper in pdf (portable document format) format. Most mainstream word processors allow you to save a document in pdf format. In Microsoft Word, for example, go to the File menu, click “Save As” and under “Save as Type,” PDF will be one of the choices. You will then upload the paper into Canvas.
Tips for Writing an Effective Critique
Use examples from both (or all) acts of the play
Use the first person (ex. “I found Smith’s performance to be…). This is a paper about your own thoughts and opinions.
Always back up general opinions with specifics.
Use the actor’s name when discussing their work, NOT the character’s name. When you mention an actor for the first time, use their full name (Judy Dench). The second time you refer to him or her, abbreviate to the last name (Dench).
Proofread your paper
Do not summarize the play
Titles of plays are italicized
Avoid superficial or misued words (“things,” “stuff,” “basically,” “actually.”) If you say you liked something, why did you like it? If it was interesting, what was interesting about it?
Never refer to a play as a screenplay or a theatrical production as a movie.
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