Theatre 383 – a well written play critique


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A play critique is an evaluation of a performance.  Using the vocabulary developed in your course of study, construct strong statements of observation and support them with specific details.  All work is to be original to you and a result of your viewing the live performance you are writing about.  Reference

the MLA and College Level Expectations handouts available in our TITANium course page.  Please use the Writing Center on campus if you need assistance to achieve college level success.


Third person is used when a degree of objectivity is intended and is used in academic documents such as theatrical reviews.  The third person perspective directs the reader’s attention to the subject being presented and discussed.  Third person personal pronouns include he, she, it, they, him, her, them, his, her, hers, its, their and theirs.  There is no place for “I” in this type of academic document.


Each of the theatrical elements you will analyze needs to be approached in three different steps.


DESCRIBE what you saw in detail.  Make the reader see what you saw.  Be specific and thorough.  Use adjectives and adverbs that paint a picture for the reader.


ANALYZE and reach conclusions as to what the director or designer was trying to achieve.  Why did they design the movements, sets, lights, sound effects, make-up or costumes that way?  What emotions were they trying to make the audience feel? 


JUDGE how effective their efforts were.  Do not be vague. (ie. Don’t say things like: “It was awesome.” They were appropriate to the time.” “It was good.” Arghh….) Give a diplomatic, honest opinion. Give

credit for positives to the individual.  If you have something negative to say, do so constructively.






INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH  (include answers to these questions)

What is the title of the show?                                Who wrote it?

Where was the show performed?                         Who directed it?

When does the play run?                                       What is the main message/theme of the show?

            BRIEFLY summarize the plot of the play or musical


PARAGRAPH #2 – The Acting – Explore audience emotional & intellectual experience

            What did they do to appear believable?              How did they accomplish seeming realistic?

            How was their Volume? Articulation? Tone?     What specific body movements were effective?

            How were specific characters engaging?                       Who was interesting to watch? Why specifically?


PARAGRAPHS 3 & 4 – Evaluate the technical elements and how they contribute to the performance.


What mood was established and how?               Describe the direction/set/use of sound/lights?

How was the time period reflected?                     How did they complement the mood of the play?

How did they/it draw or direct focus?                   How did they/it contribute to the play?


PARAGRAPH 5 – The Reaction or Conclusion – How successful was this live performance?


State your opinion as fact.  Restate essential show information along with statement of success or failure.  Share your reaction to the performance referencing key details addressed in essay.

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