Theatre Reaction Paper

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This half of the “final exam” is to See a Play and Write a 1500 Word Reaction Paper. Due to the current situation, you won’t be able to see a live production, so you’ll need to watch the recorded version of the Broadway revival of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner. Click on the link in the unit and sign in with your FIU username and password just like you did to watch Oedipus the King .

This assignment is the capstone written part of the course. Please watch the play after you have completed the learning activities in the units on Directing and Designing, so you can watch the play with the perspectives of all the artists that collaborate to create a production. This paper is my way of assessing your understanding of each of those perspectives and how they work together to create a unified work of theatrical art. Please note: the assignment is a Reaction Paper, not a research paper. Your observations, descriptions and opinions about the details of the play and the production of the play are essential.

Submission method:

Please create your paper (consisting of at least 1500 words) and save it as a Word document. Submit the paper by scrolling down to the drop box directly below these guidelines in the module. Click on the underlined words View/Submit and follow instructions.

Please be aware that is a plagiarism detection software and that your paper will be automatically compared to millions of sources from around the world. Plagiarism is a serious violation of academic integrity and will be dealt with as such. Remember, this is a reaction paper, not a research paper, so everything in the paper must be a result of your own thinking, ideas, perceptions, observations and or feelings.

It is strongly recommended that you write the paper as soon after you see the production as possible. The assignment should be completed before the due date to be eligible for full credit. Late papers will be accepted for partial credit until April 18th at 11:59 PM, after which no papers will be accepted.


The paper should be a 1500 word essay focusing on your reaction to the play/production, and to the quality of the production. Make sure to back up statements of opinion or observations with descriptive examples drawn from the show to illustrate what lead you to your conclusions.  The three main questions to consider are:

  • What was the playwright trying to say about life?
  • What universal human needs were the characters struggling to accomplish? Review Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs for reference).
  • What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  • Who is the protagonist that tries to solve the problem?
  • What is the central conflict?
  • What is the main action? (What is the main character trying to do?)
  • What impact does the play have on you and your life?
  • How does the play affect you emotionally? Intellectually? Philosophically?
  • What does it make you experience that you might not have experienced?
  • Did it reinforce the way you already think? Feel? Act? Behave? Believe? Conduct your life?
  • Did it change the way you think? Feel? Act? Behave? Believe? Conduct your life?
  • Two thirds of the paper should be devoted this final question: Did the playwright’s collaborative artists and craftspeople help you understand and enjoy the play or prevent you from doing so?
  • Choose at least four actors. Include their full names and the names of the characters they played. Evaluate their work using the following questions based on your observations and opinions:
  • Were the actors believable as the characters they were playing?
  • Did they speak loud enough and intelligibly enough to be understood?
  • Did you identify/empathize with one (or more) of the characters?
  • Did they draw you into the play or were you aware they were “acting?”
  • Evaluate the director’s work: Was the production unified in its vision? Did it flow seamlessly from one point to the next? Was the casting on point?
  • How did the design elements (Lights, sound, costumes, scenery) affect the production?
  • Provide your opinions/observations about the success or failure of each design element listed above.
  • Back each of those opinions and observations up with at least two detailed descriptive examples from the production.

Remember these are not “yes/no” questions, but “why or why not” questions. Don’t waste space/words detailing the plot or the story. About one third of the paper should discuss questions one and two. Two thirds of the paper should contain detailed, descriptive examples from the elements of the production that either helped you understand and enjoy the play or got in the way of your understanding and enjoyment and why or why not.

Last Updated on April 12, 2020