Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has these three elements: what the story of the play is; write a plot summary of the play; discuss what you think is the theme of the play. The story and plot summary must be your original work, and in your own words.  It is preferable that the theme analysis is also your original work and in your own words, but if you choose to use outside sources,  you must include citations.* Remember:  there are three elements to this paper — story, plot, and theme. **You must follow the format that is given to you in the example provided for you.
Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has t
DEFINITION OF STORY, PLOT, AND THEME IN A PLAY Story: “The telling of a happening or connected series of happenings, whether true or fictitious.” The story of a play is the narrative, that is, what the play is about. Sometimes there is confusion, since we generally talk about the story of a play when we really mean the plot or what happens in the play. Examples of story: In Shakespeare’s MACBETH, the title character kills a king and suffers grave consequences for his actions. In Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN, the Younger family has to make a decision about what to do with the life insurance money they receive after the death of the family’s patriarch. In David Mamet’s AMERICAN BUFFALO, three friends plan to steal a coin collection from a man in the neighborhood. In David Valentin’s ISABELLA, three homeless people, two of whom are drug addicts, and one of whom is a 16-year old writer, come to terms with their lives, and try to change their circumstances. Plot: Plot is “the sequence of events, or the arrangement and order of scenes in a play.” Plot is how the story is told; it is not the story itself. The playwright chooses what the characters onstage will say and do in order to tell the story. The onstage dialogue and action is the plot. It is the who, what ,when, where, but not necessarily the why. Examples of plot: In MACBETH, the play opens with three witches planning to meet Macbeth later that night. In the next scene, King Duncan encounters a bloody soldier who tells Duncan of Macbeth’s bravery on the battlefield; next, the three witches encounter Macbeth and prophesy to him that he will become king. And the plot continues on from there. A RAISIN IN THE SUN opens in the living room of a tenement house where, after the death of the family patriarch, the five members of the Younger family are waiting for a life insurance check to arrive. They begin to discuss how they will spend the money, with each family member talking about what they want to do with it. And the plot moves forward from there. In the first scene of AMERICAN BUFFALO, Bobby, a young drug addict, enters Don Dubrow’s junk shop on the south side of Chicago and begins to talk about a poker game that occurred the previous night. Teach, a friend of Don’s, bursts into the shop and begins to rant about two of the people who were at that previous night’s poker game. And the plot continues to unfold from there. In the first scene of ISABELLA, a homeless man, Eddie, enters with a sack of stolen mail, and tells Karen, his girlfriend, and Izzy, Karen’s daughter to open the envelopes and check for money. In the next scene, we see Eddie trying to convince Karen that they need to move from their alleyway because Eddie owes money to a drug dealer who has threatened to kill all three of them. And the plot continues on from there. Theme: The theme of a play is what the playwright is trying to say about the larger world, or about the human condition. It is sometimes referred to as the “moral” of the play. Theme may sometimes have a moralistic tone, but that is not a requirement. Theme can be somewhat personal; two people may view the theme of a play differently; they may see different things in the words and actions onstage. Generally, however, the theme of a play is clear to an audience because the playwright has made it so, either through title of the play or through specific action and dialogue in the play. Examples of theme: In MACBETH, Shakespeare may have been trying to say that overwhelming ambition will lead to tragic and irreversible deeds. In A RAISIN IN THE SUN, Ms. Hansberry may have been trying to say that you should always follow your dreams, no matter how unlikely it seems that they will come true. In AMERICAN BUFFALO, David Mamet may have been trying to say that mixing friendship with business can lead to misunderstandings and violence. In ISABELLA, David Valentin may have been trying to say that no matter what you do in life, there are certain situations that are so adverse that there can never be a happy ending.
Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has t
HOW TO READ A PLAY In order to understand and appreciate a play it is important not only to watch it being performed but to read it. Seeing actors’ and directors’ interpretations of a play can help create a more fully-formed opinion, but sometimes the nuances of stage directions on the written page can inform as well. Plays are not in and of themselves “literature” in the traditional sense, the way a novel or a poem is. A play is meant to be produced. It is more than the words on the page. Plays change with each production and interpretation of the script, so reading the written work either before or after viewing a performance can help you further enjoy theatre. The title of a play can often provide insight about the play’s tone, and can provide clues to the playwright’s intention. Is there symbolism implied in the play’s name? Do some research either online or in the library about the playwright and his/her other works, and the historical context of the play. You can usually learn a lot by finding out what themes might be in the play – that is, what the playwright is trying to say about humanity. For instance, Anton Checkov’s The Cherry Orchard is about a family who loses their home and its cherry orchard. But a close reading (and some knowledge of Chekhov’s life) suggest the cherry trees are symbols of the playwright’s dismay at the deforestation and industrialization of rural Russia. In other words, it often helps to know a bit about the play and the playwright’s background. If there are parts of the play that you don’t understand, read the lines aloud. Visualize what the lines would sound like, or what an actor would look like speaking the lines. Think about what the sets and costumes might look like. Pay attention to stage directions. Some playwrights give the reader a lot of information, and other playwrights give the reader nothing or very little. The characters in the play can tell you a lot if you’re paying attention to more than just the lines they speak. What are their names? How does the playwright describe them? Are they helping the playwright convey a central theme or plot point? Samuel Beckett’s 1953 play,Waiting for Godot, has a character named Lucky. He’s a slave who is badly mistreated and eventually, mute. Why, then, is his name Lucky when he would seem to be just the opposite? You can learn a lot about a play by examining where and when it is set, and how the setting affects the overall feel of the play. August Wilson’s Tony Award-winning 1983 play Fences is part of his Pittsburgh Cycle of plays set in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. There are numerous references throughout Fences to Pittsburgh landmarks, even though it’s never explicitly stated that that’s where the action takes place. But consider this: could this play about an African-American family struggling during the 1950s have been set elsewhere and had the same impact? By taking a little extra time to examine a play and its context, you will gain a much better appreciation of the playwright and his or her intentions, and thus have a better understanding of the work itself. Finally – take your time when you are reading a play, especially if it is your first time reading a script. Allow your imagination to help you understand what is happening in the play.
Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has t
THEME ANALYSIS GUIDELINES This assignment should be no more than 1000 words. The theme of a play is the message that a playwright wants to convey to the audience. It is a play’s underlying message or “big idea”. In other words, what belief about life is the playwright trying to convey in the writing of a play? This belief generally transcends cultural barriers, and touches on human nature in general, making it universal to all cultures and to the human experience. Themes can be explicitly stated or inferred. More often, writers weave themes seamlessly into the plot of a play, and a reader has to discover the theme for him/herself. To clarify: The theme is what the play means as opposed to what the play is about (the story), or what happens in the play (the plot). Sometimes the theme is clearly stated in the title. It may be stated through dialogue by a character acting as the playwright’s voice. Or it may be that the theme is less obvious and emerges only after some study or thought. Understanding a story’s theme is critical to deciphering the playwright’s message in a particular piece of writing. For this assignment, you may research the play assigned and write your theme analysis based on that research; you may decide on the theme on your own; or you may use a combination of both methods. You must cite any sources that are not your original work. You must use at least two use examples from the assigned play that explain why the theme you have chosen is relevant to the play.
Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has t
HOW TO WRITE A PLOT SUMMARY PLOT: the sequence of events, or arrangement and order of scenes in a play. ———————————————————————————————————- The goal of a plot summary is to give readers a basic understanding of what happens in the play, which includes introducing them to characters and essential plot points – that is, the main events of the play. Try to avoid specific details, such as a characters’ appearance, unless it plays a pivotal role in advancing the story. A good plot summary answers basic questions of who, what, where and when and does not necessarily deal with why things happen. A plot summary is a recounting of the major plot points in the order in which they occur in the play. A synopsis is different from a plot summary. A synopsis tells is something abut the story of the play. For example, a synopsis of American Buffalo might read like this, taken from the Seattle Repertory Theatre website: “During one long day in a run–down junk shop, three men of great ambition and low morals plan a heist of a customer’s valuable coin collection. When the con goes awry, it’s every man for himself. This fast paced drama is all aggression and testosterone, with characters wielding words like weapons to intimidate, cajole and manipulate each other.” A plot summary for American Buffalo might start off like this: American Buffalo, by David Mamet, opens with Don, the owner of a junk shop in Chicago, and Bobby, his young helper, talking about a poker game Don participated in the previous evening. Teach, a middle-aged hustler from the neighborhood, bursts into the shop in a rage over an encounter at a local diner with two female friends, Ruthie and Grace.” And then it would continue on in that same vein hitting all the major points of the plot: that is, the events that happen onstage. A plot summary for a play will be unique to that particular play, so there is no word minimum or maximum. Follow the guidelines given here, and look at the example that is posted in Bb under INSTRUCTIONS AND GUIDELINES. Remember to focus on introducing characters, briefly setting the scene and relating major plot points (events), leaving out minor ones. It is expected that this will be your original work based on your reading of the play. Do not use outside sources.
Read the script DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar. Paper will be based on this script. Following the guidelines and looking at the example provided for you in the attached files, write a brief paper that has t
EXAMPLE for the STORY-PLOT-THEME ASSIGNMENT Your STORY-PLOT-THEME assignment must be in this format. Failure to follow this format will result in points being deducted from your grade for this assignment. THE RANT by Andrew Case Story: After the shooting and killing of a young, black, unarmed, autistic 16-year old boy, a female investigator from the Department to Investigate Misconduct and Corruption, a civilian agency in New York that investigates complaints against the police, interviews both the mother of the young man and the rookie black police officer who was involved in the shooting. Sharing her knowledge with a local reporter leads to a number of surprises, and reveals that things are not always as they seem. Plot Summary: When the play opens, Denise Reeves, a 50-year-old black woman, sitting alone onstage, begins to speak. She says that while she was sitting on her porch one night, a local white policeman, Sergeant Clarke, was patrolling the streets as usual, intimidating the local residents. She says that her son, Benji, was on the porch after having eaten dinner, when Clarke pulled up in his patrol car, got out of the car and told Benji to to get off the porch, but that Benji did not hear him, because he was singing to himself. Clarke’s partner, a black policeman, got out of the car and grabbed Benji, holding him down while Clarke shot Benji multiple times. Neighbors came out of their houses to see what was happening, a lot of police arrived, and Benji was taken away in an ambulance. In the next scene, we see that Lila Mahnaz, who is an investigator from the Department to Investigate Misconduct and Corruption, a civilian agency in New York that investigates complaints against the police, has been taking a statement from Denise Reeves. The two women talk about how Mahnaz plans to conduct a fair and thorough investigation free from police interference, and how Denise is not confident that anyone will believe what she says happened the night that Benji was killed. Next, Alexander Stern, a white reporter for a major newspaper, is talking with Mahnaz about the case, inquiring about why Denise didn’t come forward herself, and about how the statement from the police department does not seem truthful. Stern and Mahnaz discuss their apprehensions about how to deal with the inaccuracies between the official police version of events and Denise Reeves” version. Mahnaz then addresses the audience in a monologue about growing up as a young woman of Persian descent in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and the bigotry that she encountered as an “outsider”, someone different from her New England fishing village neighbors. She talks about how her youthful experiences led her pursue her current career. We then see Mahnaz interviewing Charles Simmons, the 30-ish, black, rookie policeman, who was Clarke’s partner on the night of the shooting. He tells Mahnaz that he and Clarke were responding to a domestic violence call at the home of Denise Reeves. They talk about a 911 tape of that call and discuss the discrepancies between what Reeves says and what Simmons says happened on that night. Stern and Mahnaz meet in a public place because Mahnaz is concerned about them being seen together. In his reporting in the newspaper, Stern has used information from the 911 tape that Mahnaz gave him in confidence. This has made Mahnaz a target of a police message board called “The Rant”. Mahnaz reveals that she has been threatened with rape and murder on this message board, and she asks Stern to expose the perpetrators. It is also revealed that Clarke has retired from the police force. Stern then addresses the audience, citing several high-profile cases in which black/white relations and prejudices on both sides of the cases result in a rush to judgment in the media. He speaks about how no matter what you believe about any of these cases, it can prove that you are a bigot, a racist, sexist, or biased against men. Yet, he says, there is only one truth – the facts. Denise Reeves appears in Stern’s office, questioning him about his reporting and telling him about how it has affected her life. Stern accuses her of lying about what happened the night of Benji’s death. Denise defends her actions saying that Stern can never understand what her life is like because he is a white man, that she never expected her interview with Mahnaz to become public, and now that it has, that she will never be able to receive justice in the case. Stern reveals that it was Mahnaz who gave him the interview tape. Denise confronts Mahnaz at her office, and Mahnaz says that she was only trying to help Denise, and could not possibly have known that Denise was lying. Denise accuses Mahnaz of using her son’s death as a means to put forward an agenda on the injustices inherent in the police department regarding race relations. Their verbal fight escalates, and as it does so, Denise trashes Mahnaz’s office. Mahnaz appears at the property clerk’s office where Simmons is in uniform behind the desk. Mahnaz hands him a letter which contains charges against him for filing a false statement. Simmons admits to her that he was the one who posted the threats against her on The Rant message board. The have a conversation about the police, about fear, and about Sergeant Clarke, during which Simmons inadvertently reveals a detail that leads Mahnaz to suspect that Simmons was the officer that shot Benji, and that Simmons and Clarke conspired to get Simmons off the hook for the shooting. Mahnaz approaches Stern as he is eating in a restaurant, and shows him photocopies of firearms control logs, indicating that the logs have been doctored, leading to the conclusion that the officers switched guns and that there has been a police cover up. The originals have been “lost”, so there is no way to confirm this conclusion. Stern tells Mahnaz that the situation has played itself out and that the public doesn’t really want the truth, so he is moving on to another story. He tells her that the truth can never be known. Simmons appears onstage, with Mahnaz, Stern, and Reeves in the background, staring at him. Simmons stares at the audience. He begins to speak, and in this final monologue, he reveals the racist hazing that he endured after joining the force and the taunting from black people on the street who think he has betrayed his race by becoming a police officer. He then gives an account of the events leading up to Benji’s being shot and killed. Theme analysis: Racism and bias can affect what we believe is the “truth”. Racism and bias are complex, pervasive issues, and this play challenges us to examine how our own prejudices affect our most firmly held beliefs. The reporter in this play, Alexander Stern, says, “I no longer believe in facts, I believe in leverage.” While that is a cynical point of view, it clearly is the playwright’s voice telling us that “facts” can be malleable when viewed through the lens of our personal prejudices, prejudices that we might not even be aware that we have. Denise Reeves’ “truth”, as expressed by her in her opening monologue, is that white people are the devil, and moreover, a black man who chooses a career in law enforcement is also “the devil” for choosing a career so traditionally tied to the white race and to abuses by white policemen. Denise’s bias leads her to lie about the facts of what happened on the night her son was shot, because she must align the “truth” with her own world view. Lila Mahnaz, tasked with investigating whether or not there was police misconduct in the shooting, has such a biased view of the extent of police corruption that she initially completely believes Denise Reeves’ account of the incident. It is only later on on the play, when she cannot avoid facts that are revealed to her, that she is able to change her point of view. And finally, Charles Simmons, who has been the victim of so much racism and bullying at the hands of both white and black people, makes a fatal, life-changing decision on the evening of Benji’s shooting. He is literally caught in the middle, and may be the only character who can speak truthfully to how racism and bias affects one’s version of the truth.

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