Theatrical Production

We’ve been discussing The Importance of Being Earnest for the last few classes, and you’ve had an opportunity to see it performed.  Hopefully you now have a sense of this play as both a written text and a performance opportunity.  For this essay, you are going to imagine your own production of the play.  There are many details you’ll need to consider, but before you even consider them, you need to think big picture and answer this question: What is the goal of your production? A good theatrical production has a vision.  We don’t just want to perform the play; we want to highlight an aspect of it that will hopefully speak to the audience.  So, for example, you could think about the following issues as possibilities: The social commentary (How is society being reflected/criticized/mocked/praised?) The romance (Is it believable or ridiculous?  Can you present it in a specific way?) The personalities of the characters (Are they extremes or do they feel realistic?) The gender norms (How do the characters’ interactions cement or undermine their expected gender roles?) Or you can go in a completely different direction.  The 2002 film version of the play included reproductions of famous Aesthetic paintings to highlight the play’s place within an artistic movement (as well as Cecily’s vivid imagination). Thesis Examples Good thesis: In spite of how pretentious and shallow she sounds, Lady Bracknell does care deeply about her daughter’s marital happiness, and everything she does is with the very best of intentions. (This production would focus on making Lady Bracknell seem sincere and well-meaning, and perhaps emphasizing that Jack isn’t a great match for her at the beginning.) Good thesis: Miss Prism is not the amiable, empty-headed woman she pretends to be.  She is, in fact, a sociopath who happily ruined many lives and only confesses when she can find a way to benefit from it. (This production would require a very different performance approach from the actress playing Miss Prism.) Good thesis: The main characters are so caught up in their own personal dramas, that they don’t realize the wasteful, spoiled lives they live are financially unsustainable. (This production would rely a lot on visuals telling the audience that money is not as readily available as the characters believe.) Once you have a plan for your big picture message, you can think about all of the details that go into a production.  These include: actors costumes sets props performance choices You do not have to restrict yourself to Victorian England for your production.  You can set it in any time period you choose, and I will give you the freedom to change locations.  So London could, instead, be Paris or Los Angeles or any other city.  The “country” location must be within a close distance to your city; do not pick places that it would take 5-6 hours to reach, as that doesn’t work with the text.   Other than locations, you may not change anything else about the play.  You may not cut out lines, change what characters say, or change what happens.  The story must remain exactly the same as Oscar Wilde wrote it. Sources Obviously, you must make significant use of the play.  You must quote from it at least 4 times.  In addition, you may make use of two optional outside sources of your choosing.  They could be scholarly sources that discuss the play, or sources that give relevant background to justify your production sources.  Do not use a source that describes another production of the play that you would like to copy.  Don’t be lazy.  Come up with something creative and interesting. Proper MLA format citations must be used for all quotes and you must include a Works Cited page. Remember, the Revision Policy has rules.  Your essay must be submitted on time and meet all assignment requirements (word count, source usage, etc.) in order to be eligible. nnn

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