Essay – Play Analysis

Required Resources

  • Textbook: Chapter 8
  • Play from the Internet, YouTube, DVD, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc.
  • 1 primary source (written version of selected play)

Instructions Plays are meant to be performed, rather than read. The purpose of dramatic arts often extends far beyond the words written on a page; staging, lighting, costumes intonation, expression, and audience experience are all part of the experience of a theatrical production. To develop your understanding of the cultural role of the dramatic arts, you will view a production of a play this week and write a reflection to explain your viewing experience. Choose a play that you would like to view and find a version online, YouTube, DVD or iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc. You can also choose to see a play live if you prefer.

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Play Suggestions:

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • As You Like It
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • The Tempest
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Macbeth
  • King Lear

Option 1: Write an analysis of the play that you viewed. Include at least one quote from the play in your essay. In your essay, address the following:

  • Identify the performance that you have selected.
  • Describe the staging, lighting, costumes, and characters of the performance. How do these match or revise the written version of the play? You do not need to read the entire play, but you should skim the text.
  • What type of mood and tone does the performance create? How?
  • What parts of the play are easier to understand through performance? What are some details that stood out through performance?
  • What are your feelings about this performance? What did you take away from viewing it?

Option 2: Find an adaptation or transformation of a play. Choose an adaptation with some significant differences from the original, such as transposed plots and characters into a variety of different settings and historical contexts. Here are some examples:

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  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) or A Midsummer Night’s DREAM (2018)
  • Romeo and Juliet – Romeo + Juliet (1996) or West Side Story (1961) or Romeo Must Die (2000)
  • As You Like It – As You Like It (2006)
  • Taming of the Shrew – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) or Kiss Me, Kate (1948)
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
  • The Comedy of Errors – The Bomb-itty of Errors (2012)
  • King Lear – A Thousand Acres (1997)
  • Othello – O (2001)
  • Hamlet – The Lion King (2019 or 1994) or Hamlet (2000)
  • Twelfth Night – She’s the Man (2006)

 In your essay, address the following:

  • How is the adaptation the same as the original? Discuss plot, characters, theme, conflict, language, etc.
  • How does the adaptation differ from the original? Discuss setting, time period, characters, plot, language, etc.
  • Does the original story translate well in the adaptation? Why or why not? Did the adaptation work in a different setting, time period, etc. Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Shakespeare’s plays are adapted so often?

Writing Requirements (APA format)

  • Length: 1.5-2 pages (not including title page or references page)
  • 1-inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Title page
  • References page (minimum of 1 source)

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