Module 5: Into the Woods Discussion Posting

Module 5: Into the Woods Discussion Posting

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This posting is a little different from the others as it’s also preparation for your Performance Response.

For this posting, you will write ten numbered paragraphs of 25-50 words each (you can make a paragraph longer, but anything shorter will not be adequate). Each paragraph must contain detailed observation and description of a component of the performance. This component might be a costume or a set piece; a specific actor or a specific moment in the performance; or the combination of movement and music at a particular time in the performance, or something else. Whatever you observe, you can write about, but only write about one thing in each paragraph.

Do not write about characters or plot. I have had past students who recount either the entire story in the 10 paragraphs or write about a different character for every paragraph. I do not want this. Why? I want you to focus on the production and the elements which compose the play. Characters and plot are in the script and more or less stay the same from production to production. The production elements; however, tend to change. Some productions are better than others. Noticing the elements and how they are used is a means of dissecting a production. It is a way for you to critique and notice details outside of the story. Did the lighting add or subtract from the overall experience? In one scene the lights might have perfectly set the mood for a moment of quiet intimacy; in another scene they may have been overboard, flashing when there was no need, taking you out of the story altogether. (Hint: Lighting designers are usually doing their job when you don’t notice the lights at all unless you are specifically looking to see how they are working.) Every element in a production is supposed to help tell the story better. If it does not do that (such as a cumbersome wig which may look cool, but the actor has to keep fiddling with) then it should be cut or changed. Keep this in mind for the rest of the semester and especially for your Performance Response.

Remember: You are not to write about whether you liked or didn’t like a particular thing- stick to observation/description. You must include at least one paragraph for each of the following categories: staging, directing (apart from the staging), design (one each for costumes, sets, props, lights, sound and other media, such as projections), and acting. Remember: these paragraphs should be observations, not opinions. Focus on what you see and hear.

Your submitted paper should look something like this:

  1. My first observation and description.
  2. My second observation and description.
  3. My third observation and description

and so on.

(Note: You do not have to use the phrase “My (number) observation and description.” Just number your paragraphs and make sure that each paragraph focuses on one thing.)

Important: Do not attempt to write a coherent essay in which each paragraph leads into the next. Write 10 individual paragraphs about 10 things that you notice.

At the end of your list of paragraphs, write a short paragraph (paragraph 11 – between 100-200 words) about your experience of the production: what you liked or didn’t like, what you thought, what happened to you as you watched, and so on. Continue to be specific, and use, if appropriate, the observations you made in paragraphs 1-10 (for instance, after describing a costume in Paragraph 1, in your concluding paragraph you might say, “One of the things I really liked was the designs. The kind of detail I described in paragraph 1 showed up throughout the design – I especially liked the way the green embroidery design on the costume transformed into lily pads on the wallpaper.”)

Each paragraph should be well-written, observing the standards of formal academic writing. Remember to proofread your essay before posting for logical development and correct syntax, spelling, grammar, etc. Students lose many points by not turning in polished work. Polished work is expected throughout this entire course.

Module 5: Into the Woods Discussion Posting

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