Theatre Arts Essay

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  • Begin with a statement that draws in the reader, (commonly known as a hook) (Examples: A quote of dramatic dialogue or an impressive technical effect.)
  • Report is not a plot synopsis of the play, but an analytical paper that reports your observations on a specific production.
  • Be sure to cite the venue of theatrical performance, the name and author of the play and the date you attended it in your introduction.
  • It is imperative that you keep your program, as it is required that you mention actorsâ names, charactersâ names and designersâ and directorsâ names in your report.
  • If you are using other sources in addition to the performance, be sure to include a works cited page. This is a measure to prevent accidental plagiarism.
  • Thesis Statement: Your intro should include a thesis. A thesis is an encompassing statement that identifies the main idea of your paper,usually outlining the 3-4 main points to be discussed. The thesis statement should tie together the major ideas you have put forth in your introduction and is usually placed at the end of the introduction paragraph.

Body Paragraphs:

  • Essay should contain three to four (depending on the number of points outlined in your thesis statement) body paragraphs each outlining one main point.
  • Each point should have two to four sub-points with evidence / specific examples from the performance that support your idea/point. These are your observations on specific elements of the production and are the most important part in making an essay yours. They are the âwhyâ behind your essay. This is where you will be using your programs so that you can be specifc and write the names of the performers and crew who worked on the production.
  • You donât have to like a production or its elements, but you must be able to articulate âwhyâ something did or did not work for you.

Below is a possible example of the Body of a paper with the following thesis statement: ââDraculaâ was a highly entertaining production that explored the central idea of manâs eternal struggle with his passions through the use of elaborate technical enhancements (costumes, scenery, lights, sounds, etc) and dynamic performances

Body Paragraph 1: Your first body paragraph should be about the central ideas of the performance.

  • Why was the play written? What was the authorâs (use the authorâs name) motivation for writing the play?
  • What are the themes of the play? (Not the plot!)
  • How does the author and director (use the author and directorâs names) use imagery in the writing and on stage and what kind of symbolism is used to convey a message to the audience?

Body Paragraph 2: Your second paragraph should cover the technical aspects of the play.

  • Include lighting, scene design, costuming, makeup, and/or any other technical aspects of the play.
  • Much is communicated in a play using technical aspects; analyze what technical aspects the director/designers (use the directorâs and designersâ names) and the various technical departments used and more importantly why you believe they used these techniques and if they worked, or not, to enhance or otherwise take away from the production.

Body Paragraph 3: In your third body paragraph you should analyze the performances of the actors.

  • Consider the acting, the blocking, monologues, and any other specific performance related examples.
  • Give very specific examples and be sure to explain what exactly the actors did to catch your eye (vocal variety, physical intensity, emotional range, etc). (Use actorsâ names. Use charactersâ names. ACTORS ARE THE PEOPLE PRETENDING TO BE THE CHARACTER AND THE CHARACTER IS THE PERSON THE ACTOR IS PRETENDING TO BE. DONâT MIX UP THE TWO.)
  • This paragraph runs the highest risk of being âplotâ driven instead of analytical of the acting so be sure to stay focused on the what specifically made a good or non-effective performance and not the âwhat happened nextâ.


  • Your conclusion should both revisit and wrap up your essay.
  • Your thesis should be restated along with each of your main
  • Use different wording to avoid sounding repetitive.
  • Close your paragraph with a statement that offers a point to your whole essay, possibly referring back to your âhook.â


The complete essay will contain:

  • A clear thesis statement clearly expressed
  • Developed (Substantial) paragraphs
  • Topic sentences and transitions for each body paragraph
  • Specific observations from the play for each point with mentions of a few of the artistsâ names who worked on the production
  • Analysis and Synthesis of each observation being made
  • A conclusion that unifies the essay

Theatre Arts Essay Worksheet

Once you have attended the play on which you will be reporting, you will create an informal outline as follows (note that you may have as many body supporting sections [subtopics/points] as is needed to support your thesis):

Keywords for Report:

Thesis Points: (1)_______________________ (2)__________________________

(3)_______________________ (4 or more)___________________

  1. Thesis Statement: ________________________________________________________



Key elements:

  1. Hook (something to grab attention)________________________________________
  2. Personal observation____________________________________________________
  3. Thesis Statement (insert as last line of the introduction)
  1. Central Idea (This is simply a suggestions. Your first paragraph can be about anything dealing with the production.):_______________________________________________________________

Supporting details

(Add additional supporting details if needed)

III. Technical Observations (This is simply a suggestions. Your second paragraph can be about anything dealing with the production.):______________________________________________________

Supporting ideas (Use designersâ names):

  1. Performance Observations (This is simply a suggestions. Your third paragraph can be about anything dealing with the production.):___________________________________________________

Supporting ideas (Use actorsâ and charactersâ names):

Any further sub-topics (points) continue same pattern on additional sheet.

  1. Conclusion: (personal thoughts/lessons learned from play/production):

Key elements:

  1. Thesis Statement (insert as first line of the Conclusion)
  2. Personal observation____________________________________________________
  3. Reference to initial Hook_________________________________________________
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