Writing Assignment One: Observing Elements of Production

By Editorial Team Last updated: Oct 12, 2022

Writing Assignment One: Observing Elements of Production


Writing Assignment One is designed to help you observe how a single element of production works both descriptively and analytically. To do well on this assignment, you’ll need to push yourself to carefully observe the choices made by designers in ways that you may not have noticed prior to taking this class. The assignment asks you to report objectively (without personal opinion or bias) in Observation Sections #1 and #2 before coming to your own assertive conclusions in the Analysis Section.

Expectation: Demonstrate ability to describe and critique one element of theatre production the National Theatre’s adaptation of Treasure Island (dir. Polly Findlay) [available through Drama Online Database on the UW-Madison library website]. Your TA will tell you which Production Element you will be considering. To succeed on the assignment, you must:

  1. Closely observe how one specific production element in the performance is being used to help create meaning in production.
  2. Report observations with clarity and specific detail.
  3. Draw clear conclusions grounded in observations.



Note: Each section should start on its own page. IE) Section 1 Should begin on Page 1; Section 2 on Page 2; Section 3 on Page 3.

Section 1. Observations from Production: The production Element in the entire production (250-300 words)

Using vocabulary from Barbara Clayton’s “Guide to Basic Elements of Theatre Production, make observations about a single production element in a single production. How do you observe the production element working across the production? Are there repeated patterns used by the designer? Specific sections that have more production element density than others? Successful responses will describe the overall use of the production element in the production objectively and support the description with cited evidence.

Section 2. Observations from one Scene: The production Element in a single scene (250-300 words)

How does the production element work in a single scene? Choose one brief window of time between 180-300 consecutive seconds in length to specifically observe. Watch this scene repeatedly until you are confident in the use of the production element in this scene. Successful responses will use cited example to describe how the element functions in this scene.

Section 3. Analysis: Insights into how the Production Element choices make meaning for audience (200-250 words)

  1. What meaning can you make from the designer/director’s production element choices in the scene[add specific scene language]?
  2. How do the specific choices impact the audience’s experience of the narrative and the theatrical event?
  3. Did you find the designer’s choices effective?

Successful responses will support claims with specific evidence and avoid generalizations.


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