In class we discussed Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play and what goes into the performance of a character. For this post I want to outline what we should all look for whenever analyzing a play. First it is important to identify the key elements to better organize your thoughts. The setting and time period, main characters, supporting characters, main conflict, and resolution are the best ones to look at. Since plays can be in a variety of different genres like tragedy’s and comedy’s, look for the specific features that define them. Its best to look at how it meets or strays from the expectations you had for that particular genre.
Taking consideration of historical context is also very helpful. Plays can send a message or a statement about a particular time period. Analyzing themes or topics and seeing how they tie together is an important step in analyzing a play. Characters that act out all of these themes and topics are the main evidence to support an analysis if they employ typical dramatic conventions. The general organization of a play is solely based on its setting and plot. Look at the effect of the audience.
Looking at the appearance of the stage is crucial to knowing the element of the setting. In the case where you are reading a play, examine the significance of stage notes or any kind of context an author gives you before an act starts. Dramatic works of any kind combine many literary elements from poetry and prose fiction and that drama employs an objective point of view. Take a look at the production and what has significance in it any symbols, themes, or even the lighting of the stage.
Lastly, look and see if the play fails to answer any questions that you feel that need to be answered. If it’s a minor thing than it is okay to gloss over them. Knowing what your analysis is what is significant is important to leave the person reading it something to think about well after they have read it.