Theater Performance Paper – Research Paper 101

Must choose one below Theater performance to write: 





Word count at least 750 words.

Writing requirement:

Definition of a live play: A public performance of a play, whether it’s a musical theater production, a comedy or a drama. It may not be a reading (e.g., David Sedaris reading from his work at Hult Center, although that will be very cool); it may not be a live performance of music (e.g., a musical tribute to Frank Sinatra, although that also is very cool.) It should be a play with characters, a plot of some kind, scenes, etc. It does not have to be professional–it can be at a high-school, college or local theater like Cottage Grove.



1. When you attend the play, bring this sheet with you and answer the questions at the bottom of this assignment sheet. You will write a combination Observation Report and Play Review for this week. For full credit, you will need to write at least 750 words (2 full page) including your observations about the theater, the audience, your seating, etc., and the play performance itself. The 3-page length is the minimum for a passing grade. That will not “earn” you “full points” for the assignment. The quality of your work is what earns you points.

2. Feel free to write for longer than 750 words, but be sure that your paper is a structured and organized piece of writing—NOT a list of notes thrown together.


When performance night arrives, plan to get there at least 15 minutes early so that you can take time to observe the audience as they gather. This is part of the communal experience of theater, and as a student of drama it is essential that you experience this. Describe the audience as a group, or choose one or two theater-goers who particularly interest you. Please do not be intrusive in your observations, but maintain the same courteous social decorum you would at any event. Write your notes here:

Reflect on your own feelings about being in a theater. Is this an unusual way for you to spend your time and money? What’s different about going to the theater vs., say, going to a basketball game or a movie?

Sit down in the audience early enough to look around you and write down what you see: is the stage open or closed? Is there anything on the stage? If so, describe it; if not, reflect on the empty stage or closed curtain.

Is there music playing? If so, what is it? What is the tone of the music?

Is this an amateur production or professional? Musical? Comedy? Tragedy?

Look at the theater program. Examine the cast of characters to prepare yourself for the play. Do you recognize any of the actors’ names? Is the program slick or a simple Xerox copy? What does that tell you about the production?

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