Response Papers [RP]:
Our RP’s are short and sweet—only 2 paragraphs. However, in that small space you have a lot to accomplish. You have to
a) show quality interaction with the question that indicates thought beyond answers covered in class (we are not looking for repetition of what we already know but your thoughts on the matter)
b) choose the best evidence from the course experience you can for your answer (course experience includes anything that involves your enrollment in this class)
c) utilize the best original analysis you can provide for your evidence
d) use the best word choice and grammar possible. It is a small amount of space, so make every word count.
Basic Instructions Follow these six basic instructions or your RP will not be read.
1) Put the following information in the upper left-hand corner of the first page:
Theatre Class [for example, THEA241-010]
2) Give your RP an interesting title. This is the place to be most creative in an attempt to draw the reader into your text.
3) You will respond according to the following template, numbering both sections:
Section 1. Summarize your personal and general experience with the reading, readings, performance, or concept involved in your chosen question (How did it make you feel? Did you agree or disagree with its ideas, characters, styles, or qualities? Did it resonate with anything in your personal life? Was it difficult or easy to experience and why?). Feel free to use an informal writing style and first person. [4-6 meaty but concise sentences]
Section 2. Provide an argument (i.e. convince the reader of your answer) in response to your selected question in one paragraph using the following organization. Please use this format or you will not receive credit for the assignment:
Thesis sentence —the “thesis statement” of your paragraph or what you intend to prove, including all of the pertinent information that may be involved in answering the question (like the play or performance involved, your key terms, and your assertion regarding the question).
Lead-in sentence(s) —one or two sentences that establishes the context for the evidence you provide.
Evidence sentence(s) —the specific example or examples from the class experience that best helps you answer the question.
Analysis and Conclusion —this is the longest part of the paragraph, explaining what the evidence means and how it applies to your assertion and other aspects of the question.
Use a formal writing style, and do your best to avoid first person. [1 paragraph—10-12 meaty but concise sentences]
4) You have only a small amount of space to make a lot of mistakes. Be careful
Every time you use the title of a play, like Oklahoma, it should be italicized. all caps or underlined.
Watch your grammar and punctuation. There is practically no difference between form and meaning.
Make your margins 1 inch on all sides and double space your text. Use 12 font, Times Roman.
5) Use action verbs (avoid is, was, were, am) and specific nouns (avoid that, them, those, there)
Vary sentence structure and length.
6) You will submit your RP as a Word or PDF attachment on Canvas on or before the due date and time before the assignment closes. DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR PAPER FROM YOUR SMARTPHONE.
Select from one of the following questions below:
Question 1- Let’s Speak Italian: Choose a concept on the Italian Renaissance presented in class and explain its significance on American theatre
Question 2- I Speak 2 Languages: Compare and contrast the Italian Renaissance and the English Renaissance.
Question 3- Let’s Play with Dolls: Discuss Ibsen’s “A Doll House” in the context of Western history and why it was revolutionary at the time.
Question 4: Give My Regards to Broadway: Choose one of the famous figures of Broadway that we discussed in class (like Fanny Brice, Florenz Ziegfeld, or Bert Williams) and explain the impact he or she had on the modern theatre and the significance in the American theatre.
The Response Papers will be graded on how well you follow the instructions, the quality of your evidence, the quality of your writing, and the strength of your assertions. You have the chance to earn between 5-0 points out of 5 total. There are 6 different criteria that are used for grading. Check under the Files tab to see the rubric that is used for grading the Response Paper.
Sample Question and Answer:
O Beautiful for Patriot Dream: Choosing the best possible example from the staging of the REP’s production (the set, lighting, costumes, blocking, and music for this show), explain how the staging worked with the main theme of O Beautiful.
Beware What Lurks Behind the Bleachers
I thought O Beautiful was pretty funny, and the night I went a lot of people agreed with me as the audience gave the actors a standing ovation! Though I don’t really agree with the politics of the show (I am against gun control), I thought that the way they presented cyber bullying was really accurate and reminded me of problems that occurred in my own high school. I really felt for Linda (played by Elizabeth Heflin) and found her grief over the death of her son quote touching. I would gladly see this play again.
In Teresa Rebeck’s new play O Beautiful, the danger of the media to family relationships appears in the construction of the set and how it represents how people are forced to interact with the media. In O Beautiful, the cavernous main set of a high school gymnasium conceals behind bleachers that open a large, rolling platform made to look like a television studio from Fox News. The character Simon West, a loud-mouthed, conservative television host, rides in and out of the play, shaking a machine gun in the air as he interviews various founding fathers (like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson) about how we need to get back true American values. His key interview is with Ben Franklin, who explains that what made the founding fathers great people was not that they held conservative values but that they listened to one another and created a country through compromise, though West does not seem to hear the message. Throughout the play, the platform enters and dominates the center of the stage, while the family supposedly watching the show are off to the side at stage left. The director Sandy Robbins clearly makes the family seem much smaller and weaker than West’s show, keeping them off-center and simple compared to the sparkling lights and video that accompany West’s dramatic entrances at the center of the stage. As the various characters watch the show, they are obviously being influenced by what West’s character says, whether it be that it is acceptable to be judgmental of others or that it is fine to own a gun. Lennie’s suicide using his father’s gun can be seen as a direct example of how the physical size of West’s part of the set influence the character’s choices—it is as if they no longer have any. When West actually makes comments about Lennie’s suicide and Lennie’s mother happens to see him, the audience can see in her horrified reaction how much the media influences the events on stage. By having one part of the set take over the entire stage, O Beautiful warns us to be wary of how much we allow the media to literally enter our lives.
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