how to write a review of a play
how to write a review of a play
The ordinary reader can say “I like or dislike it” about the seen play without proof. The reviewer, however, must thoroughly substantiate his opinion with a deep and well-reasoned analysis.
If you are still wondering how to write a play review, check out How to Write a Theater Review by Yourself!
In the evaluation, you are given the opportunity to attack as well as commend the performance; if the production fails to answer questions that you feel need answers, then say so. If the question or problems are relatively minor, ignore them. Don’t quibble at the expense of missing the more important concerns.
- What kind of stage does the director have at his disposal? What kinds of restrictions does the stage impose on the director concerning movement and set design?
- Are the actors professionals, amateurs, or students? What restrictions does this impose on the director? Are the actors capable of dealing with the script’s requirements? (Be fair to the actors in your assessment of their talents and the level of their “craftsmanship.”)
I’ve been on the receiving end of some lovely reviews for my writing, some pretty nasty reviews, and some pretty bizarre ones. I wrote a play about Galileo in which one reviewer said there’s no way Galileo would act the way I portrayed him (because we know how a man who lived hundreds of years ago would act…?). Another reviewer was very complimentary, but totally misunderstood the show – he mistook the word “parabola” (which Galileo did invent) with “parable” (which Galileo did not). It lead to some pretty odd paragraphs. Another reviewer gave our show a five star review, which made us feel great! But then we went to see another play he also gave a five star review to and we hated it. So was the reviewer right about our show, or the other one?
His first (and, I suspect, last) work for the stage, All New People, opened last night at Second Stage. It’s pretty bad, no way around it.”
– Scott Brown, Vulture
Hopefully this step-by-step guide will ease your writing process, but without our ‘how to write a play review’ example you won’t see a complete picture.
A play review can be written in the following formats: an article, an essay, and an extensive summary. The following advice on how to write a play review is general and can be applied to any type of play review.
Why would someone need to write a review for a theatrical play? First of all, to inform the potential audience about what they are going to pay money for; whether a play does or does not contain controversial scenes; whether it is worth attending, at least. Your goal as a reviewer is to provide the audience with an accurate opinion on the play, and to provide them with a context regarding it: actors, decorations, the director, dialogues, the script, and so on.
– Focusing on just one or two aspects of the play (positive or negative) when writing a review, omitting everything else.
– Watching a play once, and rushing to write a review without fully understanding the plot and the artistic techniques used in it.
– Not gathering information relevant to the play before watching it, and thus not engaging in the context, without which it may be more difficult to evaluate the play objectively.