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THEAT 103 – Fall 2016

Critique Guidelines
After viewing our production of Parade, you should prepare to write a critique in which you will postulate
an interpretative story sentence that you will defend using at least three different production elements. The
“story sentence” should encompass the main “idea” or “theme” or “concept” that you believe that the
creative artists associated with the production attempted to tell. The script will be posted to Blackboard
should you wish to compare the script to what you saw on stage. However, your analysis and critique is to
be based on what you SAW in the theatre, not what you read and quoted in the text. Read the script to help
you focus your thoughts on the artistic choices you saw as they went by at specific moments, and quote, if
necessary to anchor the moment for your reader.

In other words, you’re going to analyze the production for clues as to what the artists decided was their
“story sentence” they hoped would move audiences. The story they hoped to tell would be made manifest
in the various elements of the production, such as the sets, lights, costumes, casting, directing, acting, sound
design, or visual design (videos). These elements should suggest the main IDEA of the play and support
your analysis as to how the theatre artists (actors, designers, director, etc.) interpreted and presented that
idea within the acting, directing, or design.

The essay must be written in 12-point font, Times New Roman only, one-inch margins on all sides, double-
spaced text throughout. If you have three pages of text, your reference/works cited page can be a fourth
page. Your own name should be in a header that does not take up more than five lines, single-spaced. (see
examples and the grading rubric)

Production Elements:
You must cite at least three different production elements, e.g., acting, casting, lights, sound, set, costume,
visual/video, or directing/blocking/movement/fighting. Be as specific as possible, using a very specific
acting moment, light cue, mise en scene, etc. Each citation should be clearly linked to your argument (e.g.,
the acting choice can be logically connected to your argument). For example, if your conclusion is that the
main idea is the search for inner tranquility (which is not the theme here), then you shouldn't cite a costume
choice that seems to better support a theme about chaos.

Clearly stated thesis:


Your thesis should closely mirror the following: The main idea of 42 Street that "love overcomes
nd

accidental fate" is best understood in the mise en scene that opens the play, the ironic use of barriers and
colors in the slumber car train to Buffalo, and in the blocking of the finale.

You can see from the above thesis statement that I have identified three elements, the main idea (which is
itself an action … a movement), and the order in which I will lay out my argument.

I could construct other "main ideas" such as: 1) "courage overcomes fear," or 2) "youth and pluck
overcomes age and ego," or 3) "the show must go on."

My point is that it is possible to justify more than one main idea or theme. Your job is NOT to identify the
“right answer” (e.g., what the artists actually did use as their concept, so don’t ask someone what they were
trying to do), your job is to make an artistic interpretation and then to defend it. No part of your grade is
about you guessing correctly. It’s about the coherence and defensibility of your interpretation.