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Posted: December 15th, 2023

The eponymous character in the play/film is Ma Rainey herself. But is she the protagonist? Using examples from the film adaptation (specific performances, the way scenes are shot, the narrative structure, etc.) write about which character you think is the main character. Whose story is this?

You will write eight critical responses to film adaptations this semester. Your responsesshould be brief, 1-2 pages in length, but detailed and thorough.
Writing a successful critique means going beyond simply deciding whether the filmadaptation was “good” or “bad”. Value judgments like “it was great” are impossible tosupport with any real evidence. Instead, carefully consider the effectiveness of the filmadaptation, and how the creative choices made by the director, actors, and designers informyour understanding of the play. You may begin by simply asking yourself your generalemotional response to the film (I loved it, I only liked certain aspects of it, I thought it wouldnever end…) but that is merely scratching the surface. Your task is to determine critically andthen articulate intellectually why you believe the film succeeds or fails in its adaptation of theplay you read.
Justification of your opinions is key. There is no “right” or “wrong” response to a work ofart. However, if your perspective lacks justification your opinions will lack validity. Stating“this film was effective because the acting was good” will not suffice. Why was the actinggood, and what do you mean by “good”? Explain and use examples.
Example:Incomplete:Among the cast, performance styles varied. Meryl Streep’s interpretation of MotherCourage also appeared inordinately funny.
Complete:Among the cast, performance styles varied; rather than fragmenting the production,however, this collage of techniques complemented the evocative and eclectic settingand highlighted the way that Kushner’s script spoke across specific historicalmoments. Meryl Streep’s interpretation of Mother Courage also appeared inordinatelyfunny, thereby turning preconceived notions of the tragic character on their headand allowing the contemporary audience to see the play with fresh eyes.(Excerpt from Theatre Journal 2007).
The non-underlined portions merely state the author’s observations. The underlinedportions explain and justify why these observations matter.
Use these general guidelines to inform your approach to writing your critiques. Eachcritique will have its own specific prompt.

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