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HUM 131 Theater Play & Broadway Musicals Essay

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Play Review Guidelines You are required to attend two play productions during the semester and write a minimum 4-page review for each. Review I is of this semester’s Oakton mainstage production of the musical, Grease and it is due April 25. Review II must be of an off-campus, professional show that you select and then run by me for approval, and it is due May 9. Each review is worth a possible 75 points. Response Question 4 will ask to you choose a professional play to review, so be sure to give this matter some thought over the next week or so. The show you choose for your professional production and use for Review I must be a serious drama, comedy, or musical, produced at a professional theater. It should be a fully mounted production of a scripted drama. Please do not select musical concerts, or improvisational or performance art type of shows such as Second City or Blue Man Group. High school or college productions also are not acceptable for these assignments, however worthy they might be. However, the production you choose need not be expensive. A smallscale show at a one of the hundreds of small, store-front theaters in Chicago (and elsewhere for out-of-towners!) would work just as well as a big-budget touring show downtown. Both are fine. The point is, it needs to be produced by people dedicated to making their living in the theatre. YOU are responsible for selecting your own productions—that is part of the assignment. Friday arts sections of the Tribune or Sun-Times are the best print sources for ideas for shows in the Chicago area, as are theater and entertainment websites. Try Googling something like “plays in Chicago” for starters. Out-of-towners should go to similar print and online sources for their locations. However, your selections must be approved by me so we are sure they are appropriate to the assignment. Be sure to run your final choices by me in an email before purchasing tickets. There are very few “rules” for writing your play review, but the following guidelines might prove helpful: 1 1. Your review should be at least 4 typewritten pages and no more than 5. Please double space and use 1-inch margins. This equates to a word count of at least around 1200 words. Please take this length requirement seriously, as an underdeveloped review will cause you to lose points! Please submit as a Word document. 2. Organize your review into a basic structure of beginning (introductory paragraph), middle (body) and end (conclusion). 3. The introduction of your review should contain basic information about what you saw, where and when. It should also state your overall opinion of the production—your thesis. 4. The body should be a more in-depth analysis of why you liked or disliked the production, or why you had a mixed response to it. Be sure to touch on at least 4 or 5 specific components of the production, such as acting, set design, lights, direction, music, etc.-the “what is produced”. ((It should be clearer now why we spend so much time with the three basic elements of theater in Chapter 1!) 5. Your conclusion should restate your overall assessment of the production and end your review in a snappy, interesting way. 6. Remember, these are intended to be reviews of productions, NOT analyses of plays. While you may certainly summarize your response to the play, in a paragraph, as one element of the production, this should only be ONE element that you discuss. 7. Most especially, do not make your review a summary of the plot or storyline of the play. This is very annoying to theatergoers reading real-world reviews! 8. Don’t be afraid to have a sense of style or to respond to the production in an individual, personal way. And PLEASE submit original work! Copying from print or online sources or from a classmate is plagiarism and will invoke the College policy on Academic Integrity. (see Syllabus.) 2 9. The best way to learn how to write reviews is to read them. Get to your local newspapers and take a look at a few. 10. You might find it helpful to jot down a few notes immediately after seeing the show. This will help your memory recall when you sit down to write. 11. Don’t forget to have fun with this assignment. Go with a friend or loved one and make an event out of it! 12. Again, ALL REVIEWS MUST BE SUBMITTED AS WORD DOCUMENTS! OTHER FORMATS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED! Extra Credit Reviews You also have the opportunity to earn a total 75 points extra credit by attending and reviewing up to three additional Oakton PAC events. (That means 25 points for each extra credit review.) These attending of the benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues in February, or a stage reading of the new play TBA, and/or performance OMG Improv in May. Info on dates and times for these events can be found at: https://www.oakton.edu/about/thearts/performing_arts_center/current _season/index.php Alternatively, you may select an additional external live theater production for these reviews. Guidelines for the extra credit review are the same as for the required assignments, except I will accept 3-page, 900-word documents for the extra credit reviews. In addition, I will also allow much greater leeway in the types of shows selected for extra credit, (for example, improv or high school shows would be ok), but you should still run your selection(s) by me to be sure. Slots for uploading both the required reviews and the extra credit reviews will be found on the “Assignments” page, and after you have completed them, that is where you should go to submit them for grading. There is also additional information at each assignment at the Content page link. As always, if you have questions, please ask! kc 3
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