Analyzing Plays based on ARISTOTLE

A “play” is the actual written work. A “production” is the performance of the play. There can be many production so the same play, even happening all at the same time. Plays are done in many different locations in the course of the plays lifetime. An informative article or patron opinion may give a summary or synopsis that tells what a play is about. It may read like a review, but it is not.

A REVIEW by a critic discusses a specific production that has happened, specifically by location and gives the dates the play could have been observed.

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  1. Identify a theater in the city where you live. State the name.(1) ( I live in Houston TEXAS)
  2. State a play they are doing now or will be doing during this year.(1)
  3. Find a review by a critic of any production of that play. As is such, the location of the production in the review will be different than the location that you could actually see


  1. Provide the review you find.(3)


  1. State what is compelling in the review that inspires you to consider seeing the play.(2)


  1. State what preconceptions you come to the play with regarding the subject matter, and where these preconceptions come from? This question is about content not about the genre(I think the play will make me laugh because it is a comedy is not an answer to this question) (3)


(3 pts) Identify an everyday life event that has theatrical elements of performer, text and audience. Explain the necessary elements: performer, text and audience in the events you identified. An everyday life event is something that you do regularly. FOR EXAMPLE (which no one can us as an answer now): going to class is an everyday life event for me. The performer is the teacher who stands before the class who serves as the audience. The teacher presents the lesson in the form of a lecture using notes which serves as the text.


(7 PTS) You will find the play RUMPLE SCHUMPLE in your START HERE folder. Read this play and THOROUGHLY, WITH SUPPORT FROM THE PLAY AND CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, answer all of the questions under two of the following sections: Plot, Theme, Language, Spectacle.

Questions for Analyzing Plays based on ARISTOTLE

(these can also be found in chapter 2 of text)


  • What are the given circumstances?
  • How is that information communicated?


  • What happens in the play? What are the major conflicts? Are there subplots?
  • How is the story organized? What is the structure? If it is a climactic structure:
    • Where is the point of attack?
    • What is the inciting incident?
    • What are the discoveries, complications, and reversals?


  • Who is the protagonist? The antagonist?
  • What do you learn about each character’s physical, social, psychological, and moral makeup?
  • What do the characters want? What are their goals or super objectives?


  • What is the significance of the title?
  • What are the recurring images in the play?
  • What are the major themes suggested by the play?


  • What is your general impression of the language? Is it formal or informal?
  • Does the author employ special uses of language (e.g., dialects)?


  • Is music utilized? If so, how and why?


  • What production methods or styles does this play imply or suggest (e.g., lighting, costume, set)?

Other Questions

  • What is the overriding tone of the play?
  • Under what genre does this play fall?
  • When was the play originally produced?
  • How did the production circumstances of the time affect the play’s creation?


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