Description A good theatre review depends on content (what’s in the paper), structure (how the paper is organized), and usage (conventions of writing and presentation). Content A good theatre review is a combination of subjective responses—how you felt about the event—and objective analysis and support for your feelings. Just saying that you liked or disliked a production is not enough. The key question is always Why? For example, you may have hated a performer in a production, but noting that you hated him or her is not enough for a report. Why did you feel this way? Was the actor totally unlike the character? Did the actor fail to enunciate the lines clearly? Did the actor convey emotions that seemed inappropriate to the dramatic action? Did he or she move inappropriately or clumsily onstage? Did he or she seem not to understand or express the character’s motivation? These are the kinds of questions you will need to answer in order to substantiate your opinion about the performance, and you will have to support each answer by describing some specific aspect of the performance. This is where your notes can be of great value. The more specific your notes, the more useful they are. Below, we suggest a series of questions about each production element. You can use these questions to guide your note-taking. Structure Like a good play, a good theatre review has a clear beginning, middle, and end. At the beginning, you should state your point of view; you may also indicate how you felt about the production in general or about the specific elements you will discuss. Sometimes a good paper can begin with a striking image or an idea that you believe to be at the heart of the theatregoing experience. The most important characteristic of the beginning of a successful paper is that it gives a strong sense of what you consider significant about your experience. The middle of your paper should contain all the evidence and analysis that substantiates the viewpoint expressed in the beginning. This would include specific examples and details from the production. The more specific and analytical this section is, the more successful the paper will be. Through your description and analysis, the reader should be able to visualize important and representative moments in the production. KEEP IN MIND, that this is NOT a synopsis of the play, but rather a discussion of TWO elements of the play regarding either the: acting, costume design, directing, lighting, playwriting, or set/scene design. At the end of your paper, you should recap your point of view and find some way to leave the reader with a clear sense of the conclusions you have drawn. As with the beginning of a paper, it can be effective to close the paper with a vivid image or idea. Remember that your conclusion will be the last impression left with your reader. Usage There are a few conventions for writing about theatre productions. For example, the title of a play is usually capitalized; and the title of a full-length play is either underlined or italicized, though the title of a one-act play is generally in quotation marks. When you name production personnel, the first reference should give the full name, but thereafter only the last name should be used.