Visual and Performing Arts Research Essay Targeted Skills: use of secondary sources for research and analysis, thesis development, writing analysis in support of a thesis.
OBJECTIVE OF THE ESSAY: RESEARCH & ANALYSIS
The following proposals present a broad scope and wide spectrum of potential ideas. It is your job to sort through your research, focus your topic, devise a working thesis and then structure your paper to support your thesis. Through your analysis and evidence, you will prove your thesis argument in your essay.
Option #1: Two Cultures
Choose two dramatic works, playwrights or performance types/techniques from two distinctly different cultures to analyze. Your analysis will compare and contrast one to the other, by looking at similarities and differences between the two. Ultimately, what conclusions can you draw about culture in comparing these side by side? Please use examples and textual evidence from the plays you are discussing in order to backup your analysis, but do not retell the story of the play. You may use a play (or plays) we have read or will read, though you must use research that goes beyond what we have studied in class. You also may choose plays or playwrights we have not studied.
Consider one or more of the following in your Visual and Performing Arts Research Essay:
Option #2: Another Dramatic Work
Choose a dramatic text that we have not read in class, either by one of the playwrights we have discussed or from one of the cultures and time periods we have looked at. After a close reading of the play, analyze how the play is representative of the time period and culture in which it was written. You may examine such things as subject matter, theme, theatrical devices within the structure of the play, language, character, plot, etc. You may also reference other work by that particular author which we have already read in class. Finally, try to draw contrasts between the time and place in which the play was written and the present day. Explain how the work is (or can be) relevant for us today. Assume your audience for the paper is familiar with the work. You should use examples and textual evidence from the play, but do not summarize the story. You job is to analyze it according to your specific and focused thesis.
If you choose this option, the new play you read counts as one of your three secondary sources for this assignment. If you need a suggestion of a dramatic work, please see me.
Option #3: Production History
After choosing one of the plays we have read or will read, research the play’s production history. Focus your research on actual landmark live productions or films, then compare and contrast these productions. You may also choose another play by one of the authors we encounter this quarter.
Choose at least three different live productions or films on which to focus in your paper. In comparing and contrasting various productions, your paper may examine one or several of the following:
You may describe various production elements, actors and acting styles, venues, film devices, etc. (if pertinent), but your paper must be an analysis of the play and the significance of the productions/films you have chosen to research. You may need to do further research on the author in order to understand how a play has evolved (or devolved) in production from the original intention of the playwright. Do not summarize the play; assume your reader is familiar with the work. You will need to use direct quotes from the play itself to support your own analysis.
Visual and Performing Arts Research Essay Materials already in use
*Theatre Histories: An Introduction. Third Edition, London and New York: Routledge, 2017 Phillip B.
Zarrilli, Bruce McConachie, Gary Jay Williams and Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei,
*Six Yüan Plays, Translated and Introduction by Liu Jung-En, Penguin Books, London &New York, 1972
*The Arabian Nights: A Play by Mary Zimmerman
*Ruined by Lynn Nottage, Dramatists Play Service
*Tartuffe by Moliere, translation by Richard Wilbur
*Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare
*Othello by William Shakespeare
*Master Harold and the Boys by Athol Fugard
Visual and Performing Arts Research Essay