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Play Attendance 30 Pts A-F

1] Attend a play within the first six weeks of class!

2] Don’t lose your ticket stub, you will need it to get credit.

3] Type a minimum 4 page college level essay paper that includes ALL of the following:

a] Title

b] Solid introduction that introduces the play and finishes with a clear thesis statement

c]  Five body paragraphs with transitions, topics sentences and clear examples.

     1] Body paragraph #1 -the setting [this includes the theater as well as stage and props]

     2] Body paragraph #2 - the main characters [physical appearance and vocal/physical characteristics as well as            and role in play – hero, villain, braggart, fool, etc.]

     3] Body paragraph #3 - the conflict, the climax, and the resolution [don't retell the whole play - hit the          
         highlights and use this vocabulary!]

      4] Body paragraph #4 - dramatic irony [what does the audience know that a character doesn't – there is
          dramatic irony in every play!]

       5] Body paragraph #5 - symbolism [words, names, places, actions, props]

D] Conclusion: Summarize main points, restate thesis and include your opinion of the play: Was it good or bad? Why? [be specific!]

4] Do not copy from the playbill or information you find on the internet – you must use your own words!

5] To get the 30 points

Pass/Fail Ticket stub must be SCANNED AND ATTACHED or automatic fail grade
2 points Correct Format – 12 point font, double spaced, 4 page minimum, title
4 points Solid introduction that tells what play, by whom, and where, and finishes with thesis statement 
4 points Thorough description of setting - includes theater as well as staging
4 points Thorough description of main characters - looks, sound, mannerisms, role
4 points Thorough description of the conflict, the climax, and the resolution [use these terms]
4 points Examples of dramatic irony
4 points Examples of symbolism
4 points Conclusion - to include analysis of why play was good or bad

Total pts 30 

** Please feel free to pre-submit your paper to Blackboard via the extra credit section on the Discussion Board , and I will let you know how it looks.

Look below for a sample A paper.

Good luck, and enjoy the play! 

English 122


          Swords, sorcery, and romance, dominate the lives of the lords and ladies of Camelot. Camelot is a wondrous land that is the focus of many books, movies and plays because its story contains excitement, adventure and romance. Little girls dream of being Guinevere while boys pretend to be King Arthur or Lancelot. The story of Camelot focuses on a time of knights and chivalry; however, the more popular portion of the story is the love affair between the Queen and Lancelot, the King’s best friend. The musical Camelot by Alan Jay Lerner was a wonderful spectacle held at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Tragedy, love, heartbreak, jealousy and chivalry are only a few of powerful themes that make up the seemingly perfect world of Camelot. These themes are not only expressed through the setting and characters, but also through literary devices such as plot, irony and symbolism.  
          The setting of Camelot created a regal mood right from the very beginning. Entering the Civic Theatre in Downtown, San Diego, my boyfriend and I noticed the entire space was draped in dark red; and, this alone started to set the tone of the entire evening. Making our way through the ticket takers, we were faced with multiple bars serving wines, beers and sodas. There were also a few stands selling collectibles, t-shirts, and other memorabilia before even getting to the staircase that led us to our balcony seats. There was a beautiful chandelier hanging from the high ceiling that provided a sense of elegance to the entire place. Once we finally got to our seats (a few flights of stairs later), the stage had a backdrop displaying the name of the play with fog rolling softly over the words. There was a generous sized orchestra sitting directly in front of the stage; therefore, it was very obvious this was a musical play. Once the play started, the props stayed reasonable simple; the props stayed reasonably simple; however, they seemed to fit the scenes perfectly. The rocks would be covered in vines and there was even a vine-covered back drop to help create the illusion of the outdoors. In many of the beginning scenes, the castle remained in the backdrop; however, it seemed to stand out as if it were really there. The trees also looked remarkably life-like with vines, leaves and textured bark. Throughout the play, the characters moved into the castle and these scenes would generally consist of two balconies that seemed to arch over the entire stage. The backdrop used for the castle scenes would have the illusion of a stone wall either with or without vines. All of these things would help create the tone for the play because the fog would roll in to show something mysterious or dreadful happening while the scenery would be very bright when the mood was light and happy. The setting alone allows the audience to have a visual idea of what the tone and theme may be, even without any characters present.

          Characters are vital in creating conflict and moving a story forward. The main characters in Camelot consisted of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlyn and Mordred; however, there were also many secondary characters that were vital to the play’s success. The outfits for this time period were very accurate and gorgeous. King Arthur and Guinevere were always stand out above everyone else’s on stage either in color or sheer elegance. When they spoke, it was very clear and loud because this displayed that they were in power and control. Even when they were unsure of themselves, they still spoke with a remarkable level of confidence. Their vocals were the strongest and most harmonic on stage. I thoroughly enjoyed Guinevere’s personality because she was insecure as most women tend to be; however, she had a realistic charm about it. She loved the idea of men killing each other over her or how she hoped King Arthur was going to attack her before she knew it was him (and disappointed that he did not want to ravish her). You can feel her desire to be needed and rescued. King Arthur’s personality was also very admirable as the audience was able to put themselves in his shoes and feel the rollercoaster of emotions he felt. He was such a young boy when he came into power and this is a very important part of his personality. Being so young, his adult character remains unsure of himself and insecure about his intelligence and ability to run Camelot. Both actors did a fantastic job of portraying the characters, and this only helped make the themes more realistic. With good acting, the audience can be drawn into their “world” and feel as if they are watching something real take place. They feel every humorous comment, jealous stare, and urge for revenge. Both the characters and the audience enjoy the characters and he spent most of the play dressed in his armor. Amazingly, he was also French and spoke with a French accent. Even the times when he was not dressed in his armor, his clothes would always be silver. His attitude was not quite as endearing because he was very egotistic and full of himself. Also, he was extremely eager to battle in the name of the King to the point of annoyance; however, the reason for the Round Table was to not battle but instead, talk out all differences. He made it easy to hate him in the beginning; nevertheless, by the time he fell in love with Guinevere, it was hard not to feel sorry for him. His presence vocally was very strong and his lyrics were a little harder to understand with the French accent; nonetheless, they were still very strong and emotional. Merlyn was important; however, he was only in the first portion of the play because his character was seduced into a trap that locked him under the lake for years. His outfits were extremely colorful and instantly portrayed the idea of a wizard. He also had a large staff that he walked with and spoke to Arthur as he would speak to a small child. His personality was seemed fatherly and it was easy to see he just wanted to help. Although, he was often the one to make the sarcastic comments about Arthur and even patronize him for this thoughts, or lack thereof. I enjoyed his role in the play and wish his character would have been more active in the play. Lastly, there is Mordred. He is the evil son of King Arthur from a past love affair with a sorceress. At first, he was just a man draped in black robes that would leave a scene snickering with no explanation. Later, it became evident that he was evil (hence the black robes) and was attempting to ruin his father’s dream of peace and Camelot all together. His voice sounded weaker than the rest of the main characters; however, this may have been on purpose to display the weakness in himself. It is obvious that the felt ill towards his father because Mordred knew he was unwanted and a trap. It was to be Mordred’s destiny to be born only to ruin Arthur and Camelot. While he succeeded in sending Camelot into a whirlwind of war and turmoil, he still received his punishment for being an awful person. All of these characters played major roles in enacting the many themes of the play. They were able to use their songs to express emotion as well as their dialogue and gestures, and this helped the audience see what was really happening throughout the play. The audience was omniscient because they knew things that were going to happen that some of the characters were still oblivious to.

          The setting and characters both played vital roles in setting up the conflict, climax and resolution of the story. The conflict took place when Lancelot and Guinevere realized that they loved one another. This began the triangle between the three vital people to Camelot’s survival; and with this, came tragedy as King Arthur realized his best friend and wife were in love. While the King knew, he decided it was best to go on as if nothing was happening because they had not betrayed him physically. He knew that Camelot was more important than anything his wife could be thinking about doing with Lancelot, and that is why Arthur was the true king. He was able to put his feelings aside to create a better atmosphere for his people and his home. Mordred revealed to Arthur that he knew of Lancelot and Guinevere and prompted Arthur to test is two favorite people by leaving them alone one night. The climax was reached as Lancelot and Guinevere were caught by the King’s men. While he got away, she was caught, put to trial, and charged with treason punishable by death. Jealousy turned into heartbreak as Arthur had to realize that he lost his wife and best friend. The law that Arthur put into effect ruled that Guinevere was to be burned at the stake, and King Arthur was torn between his new ideas of democracy and his wife. While war is breaking out, the resolution is reached when Arthur helps Lancelot save Guinevere. The two run off to safety but soon return in disguise begging for Arthur to take them back so they may end the war and restore the Round Table; nevertheless, Arthur tells them it is too late and the table is lost. He also tells them they must go and never return or else they will be punished by law for their treason and he could not live with that. While the story began with happiness and blossoming new love, it ended with heartbreak, treason, and tragedy.

          Dramatic irony is the idea that the audience is aware of something that the characters may not be. Dramatic irony builds suspense and creates an emotional response in the audience. At the beginning of the play, King Arthur is terrified that this new bride may be ugly or mean. While he is worrying about what his new Queen is like, Guinevere has run off from her carriage and ran into Arthur. They do not know who one another are at first; however, he realizes that she is supposed to be his bride after she does nothing but complain about being traded off to stop a war from happening. Instead of revealing himself, he tells her that he will sneak her away so she does not have to marry the King. First he tries to convince her to stay; and, as he has almost succeeded, some of his followers see him and start bowing. She then realizes what the audience has known the entire time: that the man she has been complaining to is the man that she has been complaining about. This sets the theme of first love and even deceitfulness for the rest of the play. The King and Queen fall in love with one another; however, the audience gets a feeling that it is more of a friendly love and not so much a romantic one. Also, with the two starting off with Arthur withholding information, it sets the tone for the remaining portion of the play. Later, Lancelot enters the picture and Arthur remembers Merlyn telling him to watch out for him. Sadly, Merlyn had been seduced into the lake and unable to tell Arthur exactly why he needs to beware of Lancelot. This information is given to the audience while Merlyn is being seduced; however, Arthur believes that Lancelot is good news. Throughout the entire remainder of the play, the King believes Lancelot to be his destined best friend; nevertheless, in reality, Lancelot is really the man who will steal his wife. This is the ultimate tragedy in the play because three hearts are broken in a desperate attempt to do only what their hearts tell them. It had already been set up that Lancelot was someone to watch out for, but it became more obvious of what his danger was when he would bicker with Guinevere. It was very clear to the audience that the two were acting like children on a playground; alas, the only thing missing was Lancelot pulling her pigtails. Since this is the major conflict of the play, it is important for the audience to recognize the dramatic irony in this situation.

          The play was full of symbolism that would relate to theme, character and even outside influences. As the story began, Arthur and Guinivere had been hiding behind the trees in the forest from those looking for them. This behavior symbolized just how young and innocent they were, and how innocent their love would be. It is very important to realize that their love for one another kindled at a very young age, and it was more of a fondness than romantic love. Later, Lancelot arrives, claiming he is “King Arthur’s sword”, and he is dressed in completely silver armor. This is important because he becomes Arthur’s right hand man (or his sword) and is always seen in silver. Even when he was knighted and everyone else wore white, Lancelot wore silver. This symbolized the importance he placed on duty and his relationship with Arthur. When it becomes apparent that Guinevere and Lancelot are sneaking around, his silver clothes are actually duller. This showed that he felt bad for betraying Arthur and that he no longer placed such a high importance on his duty because he feels he is no longer worthy. Lancelot is also compared to Jesus when one of the onlookers joke about him “walking across the channel”. He even then revives a man from death by pointing to the heavens. This only continues to give Lancelot a god-like personality before he betrays his best friend and all of Camelot. All of this build up for Lancelot only creates a greater tragedy when he trades his country for his love because he was extolled as this perfect man; however, he ended only being human.

          This play was well worth seeing, and I am very glad that we went. The theatre was really gorgeous and lent itself to a setting of lords and ladies in a fine castle. The actors played the characters very well and seemed to have a fantastic grasp on who they were portraying. Both Arthur and Guinevere had amazing voices. I found myself swept up in the emotions of the story because the characters were into it. The plot was entertaining and the humor was excellent. There were many hidden jokes about our law system and how it is endless or repetitive. Through irony and symbolism, the character’s inner minds were revealed. The music really added a special element that kept the audience entranced in the story. It was a feast for the ears and the eyes as actors played their parts in gorgeous costumes of many colors. Even Lancelot’s French accent seemed to be just right in making him seem just a bit more arrogant. I would recommend this play to everyone and would be happy to watch it again!


Last Updated: 08/06/2015
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