Critiques are a vital part of both studio and production work. An opportunity is afforded for the artist to express intentions and describe methodology in an organized manner while the observer actively seeks understanding of both.
Every Skidmore theater production is given an opportunity for a critique, usually in a company meeting shortly following the closing. Critiques are not reviews. The purpose of a review is to advise a potential audience member of the perceived value of a production. In a critique a group of theater artists raise questions in order to better understand what did or didn't "work" and why. This is of benefit to both the creator and the observer.
Critiques are not about personality or even about personal likes and dislikes. An attempt is made to comprehend the goals of the creator and the effectiveness of achieving these goals.
Some things to think about before coming to critique sessions:
- How would you describe the style of the production?
- Given the style of the production, do you believe that the production was unified? Did there seem to be a unifying idea? What might it have been?
- What images, if any, struck you in any way?
- How did the staging seem to be effective (or not)?
- Was the pace or rhythm appropriate?
- How were transitions handled?
- How would you describe the conceptual approach taken by the director? Was it appropriate?
- Was it a “traditional” production with an established script? Classical? Contemporary?
- Was the piece devised? What questions do you have about how it was created?
- Was the central action of the play clear? Were the conflicts clear?
Space and Design Elements
- How would you describe the visual style? Was it appropriate and/or effective?
- How did the theater space contribute to or detract from the production?
- How did the choice of audience/performer physical relationship contribute to or detract from the production?
- What was the overall atmosphere created by the design elements? How did it contribute to or detract from the production?
- How well did the design elements (scenery, lights, costume, sound, projection) convey information about location, time, conditions, situation, character, theme?
- Did color affect your impression of the production? If so, how? What about texture?
- Were you aware of any use of symbolic elements in the production?
- Were the costumes of a specific period and/or style? How well did these choices work? How did the costumes provide information about the characters (status, personality, relationships, occupation, etc.)?
- Did the lighting provide appropriate visibility throughout the play? How well did the lighting convey location, period, weather, time of day, situation, theme, etc.?
- In the lighting design, how were angle, form, intensity and color used to convey information and mood? Were motivated light sources in sight or suggest and were they appropriately effective?
- How effective was the cueing of lights?
- How did the sound design contribute to conveying information (period, effects, time, situation, atmosphere, theme, etc.)? Were sound levels and cueing appropriately effective?
- If projections were used, how well did they contribute to the visual world of the play? Did they serve to convey information well? Were they realistic? Were they scenic or documentary? Did they provide commentary?
- How did the desires or objectives of the characters help you understand the play?
- Given the style of the production, did you find the character work appropriate? If so, how? If not, why?
- Which performances seemed most or least successful and why? (be specific about acting choices).
- Was the vocal work effective? Why or why not?
- Was the physical work effective? Why or why not?
- How well did the actors connect with one another?
- Did the ensemble appear to be unified or not?
- What was the genre of the text (comedy, tragedy, farce, melodrama, tragicomedy, etc.)? Was it presentational or representational?
- What do you believe the author wanted to communicate to the audience? Do you agree or disagree with what seemed to be the point of view of the play?
- How did the words, actions, symbols, metaphors, etc. contribute?
- How did the structure of the play (climactic, episodic, situational, etc.) contribute to the production?
- Did you find the production a worthwhile endeavor? Why or why not?
- Was there a clear central idea?
- Did the artists involved succeed in accomplishing what they wanted to based upon their presentation before the production?
- What moments were particularly memorable?
- What do you wish was done differently?
- What were the most effective aspects of the work (text, imagery, style, acting, directing, sound, scenery, costume, lighting, etc.)?
- What questions do you have for the artists involved?
An evaluation is an assessment
of a student's work by one or more faculty members charged with helping
the student to grow as a theater artist. It is based upon a knowledge
of that student's training, growth goals as well as upon the particular
project being evaluated.
Students should actively
seek an evaluation of all work from appropriate faculty members. Since
the purpose and nature of an evaluation is different from a critique,
a private conversation between student and faculty member is far more
appropriate for this type of personal assessment. Faculty members
make every effort to see each production and each faculty member is
prepared to respond to student requests for an evaluation of work.
At the end of each semester
faculty members are available for an evaluation of a student's work
to date. This process is designed to help students to determine what
the best next step in their training and development might be. It
is helpful for the planning of summer internships, the selection of
courses, and discussions of upcoming production opportunities.