film version of Anton Chekhovs The Seagull, directed by Michael Mayer

The response paper must be structured around Aristotle’s six elements of theatre:  Plot, Character, Thought, Diction, Music and Spectacle.  After seeing the play/event, make notes for yourself on each of these elements:

           PLOT:  What are the events?  How are they arranged?  Where they clearly presented?  How successful was the production in telling the events?  Give specific examples of how you felt the production succeeded and/or failed to tell the story.

           CHARACTER:  Give a brief description of the main characters.  What specifically did you like/dislike about how the characters were written? Why?  What specifically did you like/dislike about the actors’ performances/interpretations of the characters? Why?

           THOUGHT:  What was the overall meaning of the play?  What did it say to you about what it means to be human?  Was the play about love, war, gender relations, politics, honesty, sanity, dignity, success, etc.?

           DICTION:  What did you like/dislike about the playwright’s choice of words?  Why?  How did each character’s way of speaking define that character?  Was the writing poetic or realistic or both?  How does the language establish tone and mood? Where did you think the production took advantage of the playwright’s words and/or failed to live up to their potential.

           MUSIC:  Give specific examples of how the sound of the production (character’s voices, sound effects and music) created tension, conveyed meaning and/or added to your overall entertainment.

           SPECTACLE:  How did what you saw add or detract from your enjoyment/understanding of the show?  Be specific.  What did you like/dislike about the set?  Why?  Which costumes impressed or disappointed you?  Why?  How did the lighting help tell the story or created mood?  What did you like/dislike about the lights?  Why?


Take your notes and write a paragraph or two relating your opinion on each of these six elements.  This will be the body of your paper.  Then go back and write an appropriate introductory paragraph that summarizes how you felt about the production or what you were expecting going into the production.  Also write a concluding paragraph that is a brief statement of your overall impression of the production.



Each response paper must fulfill these requirements:

  • Papers must be a minimum of two pages in length, not including the cover page.
  • Papers must be typed, double-spaced with one inch margins. NO HANDWRITTEN PAPERS – all papers must be submitted online. Submit in a .doc, .docx, or .pdf format.
  • Type the papers in standard font size (10 or 12) in black ink on white paper. NO COLORED OR FANCY FONTS.
  • If available, a photo of your ticket or program must be attached to the papers.
  • Each response paper must have a cover page or header on the first page that contains the play/event title, your name, date, class number and the instructor’s name (Courtenay Cholovich).
  • Papers must be free of spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Papers are due on the date assigned in the syllabus, unless adjusted by the professor.