Critiques An Acting Performance From A University Production.

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Your task: follow one actor and analyze their performance.

The basic questions:

How (and how effectively) does the actor physically create their character? What did the actor do physically to make you understand the character or the dramatic moment?

Some general things to write about (you don’t have to address all of the following, but this will get you started):

How does the actor work vocally, spatially and emotionally with the other members of the ensemble? What is the acting style (e.g. realism, broad comedy, dance/theatre etc.) used in the production? How does the actor’s portrayal of her/his character work within the overall themes of the play? Note: Use the actor’s name in your paper.

Some specific elements to consider:

  • Breath: How does the actor use breath work to create character?
  • Tension: What degree of tension does the character carry in their body? How is that conveyed?
  • Weight transfer: How does the actor carry the weight of his/her body?   How do they place their feet?
  • Lead:   With what part of the body does the actor lead (e.g. chest, head, pelvis, belly, etc.)?
  • Inner rhythm:   How fast does the actor move?
  • Use of Space: What range of movement does the actor use? What are her traffic patterns?
  • Status– How does the actor physically communicate the status (and the shifting status) of the character
  • Multiple characters?- If one actor portrays two or more characters, how do they create a different physicality for each one?

Consider how all these smaller choices added up to the actor’s overall interpretation of the character. Note: You don’t have to answer all of these questions in your paper. These categories just serve to remind you about what you saw.


  1. Be specific in your descriptions.Create a visual picture for me. Tell me what you saw.
  2. Include bothdescription and analysis. Once you’ve got some descriptions down, argue their importance. Everything onstage is there for a reason. How does what you saw connect to the play’s overall theme?
  3. Avoid plot summary.Don’t write about the play. Write about the acting choices.
  4. Edit your work. Proofread (or have someone else proofread) your paper for clarity as well as for the niceties of grammar and punctuation. MECHANICS MATTER.


Last Updated on March 13, 2020