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Examining the work of the costume designer- evaluate the effectiveness of the design choices made in the production

Session A – Theatre 101 REQUIRED PERFORMANCE TREATMENT VIEWING Due (submitted through Compass): 11pm (CT) FRIDAY, October 15

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Theatre 101 – Fall 2021 PERFORMANCE TREATMENT – CHOICES (Choose 1): Frankenstein (National Theatre Collection) Frankenstein is a stage adaptation by Nick Dear of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Directed by Danny Boyle https://video-alexanderstreet-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/watch/frankenstein-bc-as- creature?context=channel:national-theatre-collection She Loves Me (Broadway HD) With a book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock. Directed by David Horn https://video-alexanderstreet-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/watch/she-loves- me?context=channel:broadwayhd-collection **Pipeline, Written by Dominique Morisseau (Digital Theatre +) Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz/Habib Azar https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/broadway- hd/pipeline

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You will need to sign in for access. You may also gain access through the Illinois library page.

REVIEW THE COURSE ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY IN THE SYLLABUS. This will be submitted via SafeAssign in Compass and any document in violation of the policy (having improper or lacking citations, overt similarities to other works, copying, facilitating, improper consultation) will result in the policy being strictly enforced.

QUESTIONS YOU MUST ADDRESS: We do expect formality and proper academic writing style in your answers. Any supporting, outside research or resources should be cited properly using the appropriate MLA style guide. For such a style guide you might visit the library or the Writing Center. It should be

about 2-3 pages in length.

1. Describe the central conflict of the required performance viewing option you were assigned as you understood it from the production. (See text pg. 33 for definitions.) Give specific examples to support your conclusions.

2. Describe the actors’ use of “the actor’s instrument” (See text pgs. 46-49 for definitions) in their performances. How did the actors use voices and bodies to create characters? How did their work communicate with the audience? Were they successful in creating characters- is so why

and if not why not? Give specific examples to support your conclusions.

3. Examining the work of the costume designer- evaluate the effectiveness of the design choices made in the production. (See text Ch. 5 for design definitions.) Did the costume design work in supporting the production? What information could you gain from the costume design choices made? If something did or didn’t work- why or why not? Give specific examples to support your conclusions.

4. Examining the work of the lighting designer- evaluate the effectiveness of the design choices made in the production. (See text Ch. 5 for design definitions.) Did the lighting design work in supporting the production? What information could you gain from the lighting design choices made? If something did or didn’t work- why or why not? (This may spill over to use of

projections if projections were used.) Give specific examples to support your conclusions. 
 5. Examining the director’s work- what specific elements of staging within the production stick out

in your mind and what made them memorable? (See text pg. 166 for staging examples.) Be sure to include specific supporting examples from the production.

6. Describe, in specific detail, the final moments of the play in terms of actual events as well as how those events related to the central conflict. Was the central conflict resolved? If so- how? If not- why do you think it was not resolved? Give specific examples to support your

conclusions. 
 7. Please offer your thoughts as to why the University of Illinois Department of Theatre might

choose to produce their own live production of the required performance viewing option you were assigned. Would this be something college students should perform? Would this offer something interesting to a college community to see such a performance live? Support your

conclusions with specific examples.

8. What do you feel this production of the required performance viewing option you were

assigned communicated to the audience? Support your conclusions with specific examples. 
 9. What appealed to you about the production and why? (You don’t have to “like” the whole

production, but we do want you to focus on at least some things that appealed to you. Provide specific examples and explain why.)

HOW WILL I BE GRADED? This assignment is worth 350 points. 35 points will be assigned based on evaluation of format (spelling, grammar, punctuation, citations and the like). Each question will be worth 35 points. You will be evaluated by assessment of the following: Did you completely answer the questions provided? How successfully did you apply concepts from class to practices in production through your brief answers? Is it clear you attended the production? Note: Should it be determined that you did not actually view the performance, you will forfeit the grade for this assignment. By submitting a performance treatment for a production which you did not view you will also be subject to the course academic integrity policy- please see the syllabus for details.

EXAMPLE OF PARTIAL ANSWERS: Below are examples that we would consider to be only PARTIALLY successful. These are offered as a starting guide for your writing- for full credit you should expand the following: offer multiple observations per individual question, expand the number of your supporting examples in each question, and offer a clear and discernable conclusion based on your observations and supporting examples. AGAIN- these are examples we would consider to be only partially

successful.

 

 

1. Baby Don’t Cry’s central conflict comes from the Cindy dancers finally accepting the Baby singers as artists in their own right. Symbolically that conflict represents the acceptance of all artists’ craft as having value. It might be taken further as a message of acceptance for all human endeavors. This conflict is best seen in the climactic scene of the play when the dance-off ends in a tie and the teams come together in one dance.

2. The actors’ use of “the actor’s instrument” brought the main focus of their character creation on their use of voice and body. Watching Tim Guttmann’s portrayal of Robert brought focus to an actor’s need for strong vocal training and physical endurance. Guttmann’s Robert became the loudest member of the ensemble during his leading of the revolution in Dance or Don’t Dance. The performance demanded a strong voice that could pierce through the action as well as a spot-on Scottish accent. At the same time the physical portrayal of Robert required Guttmann to use acrobatics (primarily back hand springs) that showed Robert to be young, athletic, and energetic. The audience could better understand Robert as a character of strength because of his mastery in voice and body and the result was tumultuous applause as the

character decided to follow Robert to revolution. 
 3. The work of the costume designer left much to be desired. I thought the togas worn by the

entire cast confused the time period and weren’t supported at all by the script. In fact, I was completely confused by the togas. Baby Don’t Cry was not set in any time period where a toga would be worn.

4. The lighting design of this production was my favorite element of the piece. Frank Smallhorn designed not only the lights of the production but also created an immersive environment in which the audience found themselves bathed in theatrical electric glow. When Aldridge enters the tavern in Act II the disco feel of the lights not only captured and focused the audience’s attention but also told us exactly what time it was (1974) and exactly what kind of establishment the tavern was (a brothel.)

5. Evaluating the directing of this piece left me very confused. I honestly couldn’t tell which elements were the directors and which were the actors. The text mentions this as a problem. Cohen and Sherman write, “The director’s art is really confusing and awfully difficult to recognize. The director’s vision is the central core around which the production revolves but to capture that work from an audiences view is sometimes confusing.” As a result I can only interpret what I saw and assign directing evaluation as best as I am able. The pace was wonderfully done- we moved along quick quickly. The casting seemed to be wise- all the Townhouse Girls were spot-on for high school dance team members and the Ritz Boys couldn’t have been a better representation of a show choir.

6. The final moments of Baby Don’t Cry were a visual feast. The unit set that had been used throughout the second act suddenly exploded into slivers of the original set. All this happened while Cindy stood center stage screaming her anthem What I Did I Would Do Again! Cindy’s song clearly resolved the central conflict of accepting the Baby singers as artists and offered her

justification for the choices she would gladly make again.

7. Clearly a production of Baby Don’t Cry would offer the Theatre Department a chance to train their students in the genre of musical theatre. I think the department might also choose to produce this classic tale to further explore the popularity of American Idol; the musical offers a fresh perspective on celebrity and the trappings therein. For example- when Cindy loses all of

 

 

her friends for a chance in the dance off the point is clearly made that with celebrity comes

loss. 
 8. Baby Don’t Cry seems to clearly provide a metaphor for the loss of one’s dreams. The audience

is presented with an entertaining evening of song and dance but each number covers the human experience of compromise of self in the pursuit of happiness. It is difficult to imagine

this play not sending the message of, “live for today but realize there are costs.” 
 9. Not being a big fan of musicals I thought I would dislike this production. However, the acting

and dancing were so superb I found myself moved by the show. Todd Handig’s performance of the song “Why Men Don’t Dance” was a spectacular example of actors not only using their craft but also seemingly enjoying themselves in the process.

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