Play Analysis

Play Analysis

Play Analysis 150 150 Peter

Play Analysis

Textbook: Chapter 8
Play from the Internet, YouTube, DVD, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc.
1 primary source (written version of selected play)

Plays are meant to be performed, rather than read. The purpose of dramatic arts often extends far beyond the words written on a page; staging, lighting, costumes intonation, expression, and audience experience are all part of the experience of a theatrical production. To develop your understanding of the cultural role of the dramatic arts, you will view a production of a play this week and write a reflection to explain your viewing experience. Choose a play that you would like to view and find a version online, YouTube, DVD or iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc. You can also choose to see a play live if you prefer.

Play Suggestions:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Romeo and Juliet
As You Like It
Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Much Ado About Nothing
The Comedy of Errors
King Lear
If you have another idea, please ask your instructor to approve it.

Then, select and address one of the following options:

Option 1: Write an analysis of the play that you viewed. Include at least one quote from the play in your essay. In your essay, address the following:

Identify the performance that you have selected.
Describe the staging, lighting, costumes, and characters of the performance. How do these match or revise the written version of the play? You do not need to read the entire play, but you should skim the text.
What type of mood and tone does the performance create? How?
What parts of the play are easier to understand through performance? What are some details that stood out through performance?
What are your feelings about this performance? What did you take away from viewing it?
Option 2: Find an adaptation or transformation of a play. Choose an adaptation with some significant differences from the original, such as transposed plots and characters into a variety of different settings and historical contexts. Here are some examples:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999) or A Midsummer Night’s DREAM (2018)
Romeo and Juliet – Romeo + Juliet (1996) or West Side Story (1961) or Romeo Must Die (2000)
As You Like It – As You Like It (2006)
Taming of the Shrew – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) or Kiss Me, Kate (1948)
Much Ado About Nothing – Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
The Comedy of Errors – The Bomb-itty of Errors (2012)
King Lear – A Thousand Acres (1997)
Othello – O (2001)
Hamlet – The Lion King (2019 or 1994) or Hamlet (2000)
Twelfth Night – She’s the Man (2006)
If you have another idea, please ask your instructor to approve it.

Watch the original version and the adapted version. In your essay, address the following:

How is the adaptation the same as the original? Discuss plot, characters, theme, conflict, language, etc.
How does the adaptation differ from the original? Discuss setting, time period, characters, plot, language, etc.
Does the original story translate well in the adaptation? Why or why not? Did the adaptation work in a different setting, time period, etc. Why or why not?
Why do you think Shakespeare’s plays are adapted so often?
Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 1.5-2 pages (not including title page or references page)
1-inch margins
Double spaced
12-point Times New Roman font
Title page
References page (minimum of 1 source)

Sample Paper

Play Analysis

The Tempest is a play written by William Shakespeare, and it is said to be the last play that he wrote alone. The play is all about love, betrayal, magic, and forgiveness. It takes place on an island in Italy whereby a one-time Duke of Milan named Prospero and Miranda, her daughter, live with Ariel and Caliban, a strange wildman. The play depicts Prospero with powerful magic, which creates a tempest that spurs the scene for the play (Savage Rose Theater, 2014). In the following scenes, we experience the plot to murder the King of Naples, a drunken scheme to murder Prospero and the romance between Ferdinand, the King’s son and Miranda. William Shakespeare in The Tempest tries to communicate the importance of mercy. Despite Prospero’s enemies not showing him mercy, he ended up sparing them his wrath. Also, he didn’t have to release Ariel, but he showed compassion by making good on his promise to release her. It is evident in the end as everyone is forgiven, and they sail for home.

Staging, Lighting, Costumes, and Characters of the Performance

Shakespeare might have staged the play inside a playing space as The Tempest was written when the King’s men used the Black friar’s Hall as the theatre. The seasoned establishment of the outdoor playhouse is termed the Globe. Shakespeare incorporated varied music, props and fine costumes with visual effects (Cresseler, 2020). Also, the playhouse was equipped with thunder sheets and fireworks that could give a tempestuous noise of thunder and lightning. The light remained ambient throughout the play. Also, there is centrality in how the director matches the author’s message and the character’s speech. He proves that leaving the set and the scenery unchanged could not prevent using words only. It is worth mentioning that the pile of books in the background symbolizes the conceptual element of staging that surpasses the traditional settings. Also, the characters are perfect for their parts since they can interpret the characters without going overboard. In the play, Prospero appears unique. He demonstrates the complex personality of being a sailor, a wizard, and a professor, which illustrates that he can be sad and angry, eccentric and mild in different situations.

Mood and Tone that the Performance Create

The play gives a gloomy mood. Various parts give an overwhelming tension that might make one not concentrate on the characters’ speeches. Music and the sea decorations contribute to the perspective of the play. Besides, the play gives a melancholic touch as the characters have their hidden grief despite the play being a comedy.

The Parts that are Easier to Understand through the Performance

One will comprehend the first part of the play and its middle. However, it could be challenging to identify the character corresponding to a given actor when the Performance begins. However, what I could take away is the interpretation of the text despite the numerous remarkable features. Therefore, the play encompasses a tale, a tragedy, a horror story, and a comedy in different sections. The space shows some relevance of the theatre as it is still high even without modern techniques. The audience can share moments of joy and sorrow regardless of being far from Shakespeare.

Details that stood out through Performance

What stood in the play is how it shifts from threatening to hopeful. It opens with a storm, the tempest, which plunges the audience into chaos. The play makes one anxious about what will happen at the end. Besides, one will have the expectations of freedom as there is a mood change among the characters.

My feelings about the Performance

Despite the sad mood that the play gives, it still gave me the feeling of mercy. Prospero shows compassion to his enemies despite them not showing it in return. I think Shakespeare intended to illustrate one’s emotions. He offers an emotional touch on the final fear of anger and death.

What do I take away after viewing the Performance?

The Performance makes me understand that nobody is perfect, as depicted by Prospero’s case. Also, I learnt that blood is thicker than water when Prospero forgives others, including releasing Ariel and they all set sail for home. I also learnt that the platonic relationship still is possible when Ferdinand, the King’s son, fall in love with Miranda.



Cressler, L. (2020). The Tempest. Shakespeare Bulletin38(2), 274-278. Retrieved from

Savage Rose Theater (2014). Video file. Retrieved from