Typically, this course requires students to see a live play in a theatre. However, due to COVID-19, and because nothing is more important than your health, the following change has been made to this course:
NO Live Play will be required. However, you are welcome to attend a live performance and write about it if you choose. If you’d rather not attend a live play, you have the opportunity to view a play online or by video. Once you do that, then you can write your Play Critique. Following are options for how to do view a play online.
(*Please note that you cannot write a Play Critique about a play that you saw prior to our 8-week course. It’s important that you watch a play with consideration of everything that you’ve learned so far in class.)
Some things to consider when watching a play on video that was intended to be watched by a live audience:
Theatre is created to be experienced in a live setting. Filmed performances of plays are in no way the same as actually being in the theatre – watching the performance unfold in real time.
The acting style that is required to play to a theatre of hundreds of people will seem a little fake (or over-the-top) when recorded in close ups with a camera. In order to communicate to a large group of people, it is sometimes necessary for an actor to amplify their performance (voice/gesture) to be seen and heard.
Audiences are very accustomed to watching TV/film, so it will not be as exciting or interesting to watch a play that was videoed because there is a limit to the camera angles, special effects, and some editing techniques.
However, while watching plays through video, you can still observe the set, lights, costumes, makeup, sound, and acting. You can still receive the story, and sometimes people really enjoy being able to watch a play that would normally only be done for a limited time, where tickets cost hundreds of dollars, from the comfort of their own home.
If you choose to watch a video taped play, I highly recommend one of the following plays:
https://www.broadwayhd.com (Links to an external site.)… This website has compiled hundreds of video-recorded plays. (As opposed to some productions you could find on YouTube with poor video quality, or amateur production values, the plays on BroadwayHD are professionally recorded from plays that were performed on Broadway.)
This site offers a free 1-week trial and then it is $8.99/month. You could watch multiple plays for free by taking advantage of the trial period.
Following are some recommendations for plays to watch on BroadwayHD, but you are welcome to watch anything from this site and write your Play Critique Paper on it.
INDECENT by Paula Vogel
The play, “Indecent” is inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s play “God of Vengeance” – a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel. The play charts the history of an incendiary drama and the path of the artists who risked their careers and lives to perform it.
DRIVING MISS DAISY by Alfred Uhry
Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones star in this stage adaptation of the beloved and iconic tale of pride, changing times, and the transformative power of friendship.
FALSETTOS a musical by William Finn and James Lapine
Nominated for five 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical, Falsettos is a hilarious and poignant look at a modern family revolving around the life of a gay man Marvin, his wife, his lover, his soon-to-be-bar-mitzvahed son, their psychiatrist, and the lesbians next door.
MACBETH by William Shakespeare
Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood reprise their Tony-nominated stage performances in this gripping adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, which relocates the bloody action of Shakespeare’s famous Scottish play to a nameless 20th-century netherworld.
BILLY ELLIOT: The Musicalby Elton John and Lee Hall
Based on the beloved film, this ten time Tony Award Winning play is a modern-day fairy tale of a young boy who exchanges boxing gloves for ballet shoes. Billy’s story is set during the 1980’s miner’s strike in Northern Ireland.
If you have access to Disney+, you can watch the multi-Tony-award winning musical Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda.
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