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How Production Elements Impact Live Performance: Assignment Report

Objectives

Students will be able to:

1. Analyze how specific production elements (such as lighting design, costume design, sound design, set design or an innovative and unusual directorial choice) create an impact on the audience member.

2. Respond to a live performance through writing clear and illustrative descriptions with careful attention to the interaction of elements on stage.

Method: Write one four page report responding to the performance you experienced. Your report should begin with the basic information about the performance (e.g. title and author; production company; theatre venue; director; date you attended--attach your ticket stub). You should also provide a short introduction describing the plot, situation and main character to setup your description of the scene you have chosen:

“In Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen, Peer (played by Aziz Ansari) been exiled from his home in Norway and appears at the beginning of the fourth act as a wealthy middle aged man on the coast of Morocco, pretending to be a prophet. In the scene I am analyzing how Anitra (played by Mindy Kaling) negotiates his sexual advances while planning to steal his money.”

You may approach this assignment one of two ways:

1. Provide a clear, detailed, objective description of a short segment of the production, and an analysis of why it is effectively staged.

OR

2. Focus your report on one particular aspect of the production, (such as casting, costumes, lighting, sound, props, etc.) with the aim of understanding how the element adds to the performance.

1) If you choose the first option, select a short scene – no more than ten minutes in length. This is not about whether or not you enjoyed the play, but instead about creating a clear “stage picture” for your reader. Consider all the elements in the scene (lighting, costume, props, gesture, tone, rhythm, sound design, etc) and how they are integrated to create an effect on you as an audience member. When engaging with acting, it is not enough to describe the actor’s emotion or communication. For example, it is not enough to say that Anitra is seductive. What is the actor (Mindy Kaling) doing to indicate this, with her body language, gestures, voice, pace, rhythm of her movements? And how does the rest of the staging support this? Recreate –through your vivid and specifically descriptive writing— the scene. And for this choice, engage with how the different stage elements respond to each other to create the scene.

2) If you choose the second approach, be sure to describe how the element you have chosen to focus on is effective in a particular scene, as well as to the overall production (such as casting, costumes, lighting, sound, props, etc.). Choose a technical element that you find compelling, not necessarily because of the plot, but instead because of the moment of staging. This is not an evaluative report on judging the play, but instead an analysis on how the staging element causes an effect on you as an audience member. Consider, are your pre-show expectations met, or challenged? Is your social/cultural lens for witnessing the theatrical event challenged or welcomed?

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