play review


you will write a short (250-400 word) “review” of the performance, which should include a critique of the production elements such as costuming, props, staging, and how these parts worked together as a whole. The review should also include the plot of the play and if it were executed successfully. 

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preformance of Young Jean Lee’s Theater :

– Lear (2010)

*NOTE: Be sure to watch the play’s recording in full screen.

Writing a Play Review

Remember: The point of a play review is to critique a play, not just to describe it! If you simply describe the plot, then you will not receive a very good grade. Thus, you need to have an overall thesis, just like in a regular essay. In this case, your thesis will be related to whether you thought the play was a good interpretation or well-executed version of the play. You then need to provide points throughout the review to support your thesis.

The following questions will allow you to think about some elements of the play that you can critique. They are divided by different aspects of the play. 

Basic Information

In what theatre, if any, was the play performed in?

When was the play originally performed? When did you see the play?

What play did you see?

Who was the author?

Script: Try to identify the following:

– What was the major conflict, dramatic question, or unifying theme?

– What was the dominant tone of the play? Serious? Comic? Ironic? Explain. 

Directing: Try to comment on the following:

– Was there an identifiable production concept, unifying metaphor, or interpretational approach? If so, what was it and how was it manifested in the production?

– Were all of the elements of the production compatible and coordinated? Explain.

– If not, what seemed out of place or inadequately integrated with the rest?

Acting: Choose at least one actor to comment on in some depth:
(Please spell actor/character’s names correctly.)

– Were some actors inadequate to their roles? In what ways?

– Were some actors especially effective? If so, how and with what effect?

– Were the actors audible? Understandable?

– Were there any special skills (such as dancing, singing, fencing, playing a musical instrument) required of any of the actors? If so, how effectively were the demands met?

Scenic Design: Try to comment on the following:

– In what type of performance space was the production staged?

– What characteristics did the scenery embody? What did the scenery convey about the play?

– How did the scenery contribute (or fail to contribute) to the total production?

– What would have been lost if the scenery had been eliminated? 

Costume Design and Makeup: Try to comment on the following:

– Were there any special costume needs? (historical, fantasy? etc.) If so, how well were they handled?

– Were there any special makeup needs? (Same as above) If so, how well were they handled?

– Overall, how did costumes and makeup contribute (or fail to contribute) to the total production?


Lighting Design and Sound: Try to comment on the following:

– Were there any special lighting or sound needs? If so, how well was it executed?

– Overall, how did lighting and sound contribute (or fail to contribute) to the production concept and the total production?

Final Thoughts:

– What was your overall impression of the performance?

– What was your overall impression of the experience?

– Any other final thoughts?

Grading Criteria

Your review will be graded based on the following criterium:

Organization: 25%

Detail: 25%

Mechanics: 25%

Development: 25%

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