Help With Writing About Drama
Return to WRITING ACROSS DISCIPLINES Table of Contents.
Return to POWERWRITE Home Page.
There are two kinds of Plays that you can write about: Those that you read and those that you see performed. Reading a play provides you with a lot more freedom because you are free to interpret the action in anyway that you see fit. When seeing a play however, you are given the directors interpretation which is not necessarily the way the playwright intended it. After seeing a play performed, it is more difficult to develop you own interpretation of the work. If possible, it is better to write your paper about a play before you see it performed to ensure that your ideas are original and you can always alter your paper after you see the performance.
After Reading a Play:
- When writing about a play after just reading it, you want to appraoch it in a similar manner that you would a short work of fiction. When writing about a play however, keep in mind that you are aware of all of the actions, thoughts and interactions of the characters. With this in mind, you must pay extra careful attention while analyzing the actions of the characters. In a play, you must also make sure to recognize all of the details and imagine the movements, facial expressions and attitude changes of the characters that are not always expressly stated in the text. In addition to these points, here are some other elements to keep in mind when writing about a play:
- What are the play's main theme or subject and how are they developed throughout the play?
- Does the playwright present a serious conflict? If so, does he/she make it easy for the reader to take a side in the conflict?
- What type of play is it? Tragedy? Comedy? Historical? Satire? etc..
- Is the play easy to believe or does it contain fantastical elements?
- Is the play simply a presentation of a situation, or does it contain a deeper meaning?
After Watching a Play Performed:
- When writing about a play after you have seen it performed you must consider the guidelines for writing about a play that you have read which are stated above, in addition to several other elements that can only be conveyed in the theater.
- Did the director interpret the action in a different manner than you did? If so, how?
- What were some specific instances in the play that you thought couldbe done differently?
- Did the actors protray similar or different characters than you envisioned?
- Did seeing a specific interpretation of the play change your own perception of the work?
- How does the scenery or props contribute to the mood and style of the production?
- Is the scenery a positive attribute to the play or is it distracting? If the set does not contain any scenery, why do you think that is?
- Does the scenery, lighting, or position of the stage create a certain mood for the play? If so, what is that mood?
- How do the costumes contribute to the understanding of the period, style, individual character or social class?
- Does the directors interpretation change the meaning of the play?