Palos Verdes PeninsulaHigh School

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Drama Class » Class Information

Class Information

“What do actors really want? To be great actors? Yes, but you can’t buy talent, so it’s best to leave the word ‘great’ out of it. I think to be believed, onstage or onscreen, is the one hope that all actors share.”
-- Gene Wilder, Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search For Love And Art
Mr. Cohen will accept written homework for late credit. The policy for written work (unless noted otherwise on specific assignment sheets) is as follows:
- Work is accepted for -10% for each day late. (Turned in 1 day late, up to 90% full credit. Turned in 4 days late, up to 60% full credit).
- Late penalties bottom at 20%, meaning that an assignment turned in 8 days late can receive up to 20% full credit. Assignments turned in 9 or more days late can receive up to 20% full credit.
- Long term writing assignments (4+ days), such as Play Critiques or Research Assignments, are due on the due date, regardless of illness. Any written assignment can be emailed to and are due by the start of your class on their due dates. If timestamped later than the official end of the student school day regardless of illness, assignment is considered late.
*Note, Winter Play critiques are due at noon on the last day of school going into Winter Break. If turned in past noon on the last day of school. Assignment is 1/2 day late. If turned in between the first week of break, assignment is considered 1 day late. If turned in the 2nd week of break, the assignment is 2 days late. If turned in on the day school resumes, assignment is 3 days late.
- The last day to turn in late assignments for credit is 3pm, the Friday before Semester Finals. For the 2019/20 school year: Semester 1 deadline: January 10; Semester 2 Deadline: June 5
All drama students are required to complete production hours each semester. Production Hours are work around the theatre that help students understand that there is more to running a theatre department or a functioning theatre than just showing up to perform. Production Hours can be earned by:
- Signing up for the weekly hours offered on the back bulletin board
- Working on production crew for a production
- Working on House Crew for one of our productions
- Other opportunities that Mr. Cohen may present throughout the year
Production Hours Reminders:
- You must sign up at least 24 hours in advance.
- If you sign up for hours and cannot make it for any reason, you are responsible for finding someone to replace you or you will lose the hours that you are not working.
- You must wear closed-toed shoes.
- No skirts/dresses allowed. Shorts or pants are encouraged.
- Wear something you don't mind getting a little bit dirty. You won't know what you will be doing until you arrive for your hours.
- No one will be required to perform any tasks they are incapable of completing safely.
Other High School Shows to Support
The Crucible @ Redondo Union: December 5-7 @ 7pm; 8 @ 2pm
Reminder: Other high school's productions may not be used for your play critique assignments, but they MAY be used for additional critiques for Thespian points.
All students are required to write two play critiques each semester, (1) school/department production and (1) "Professional" show.
The show must be a theatrical narrative -- meaning it must have a story to follow. It can be an improv show. It can be a dance show. As long as it has a storyline.
Yes: Comedy SportzLA, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Cirque du Soleil
No: Stand-up comedy, UCLA Dance Major Showcase
Play critiques should be 1-2 pages, with ticket stub attached as proof of attendance, and address the following information:
- Play
- Writer(s)
- Director(s)
- Main characters and the actors who play them
- A brief description of the plot/storyline
- What the theme/message/main idea of the show is.
- Setting (where and when does the show take place)
- General impressions of technical elements - was the design thought out and are those designs well implemented
+ Costume/Scenic/Lighting/Sound
- Your favorite character / actor in the show.
- If you saw a musical, what is your favorite song.
- Your overall impression of the show and if you would recommend it to others.
Drama 1 and Drama 1 Advanced can fill out the Play Critique Form and answer all questions.
Drama 2, 3 and 4 must type their critiques in paragraph form, but may use the Play Evaluation Form as a guiding document.
Q. What is a "professional show"?
A. For these purposes, a professional show is any show ABOVE high school level. This can include junior college (El Camino or Harbor College), college (CSU Long Beach), adult community theatre (Aerosapce Players, Torrance Theatre Company), small professional/regional (Long Beach Playhouse) or really big (Ahmanson, Pantages, Mark Taper Forum).
Q. My friend is in a play, can I go see his/her show for critique credit?
A. That depends. If the theatre fits the above category, then yes. If your friend is in a show at another high school (e.g. PV High, Chadwick) or a local youth community theatre company (e.g. Encore, Pops, South Bay Conservatory) then you should still see the show and support your friend - but you may not use it for your professional show critique assignment.
Q. What about a filmed version of a play?
A. Sometimes these can work as a make-up or alternative assignment, however this is at Mr. Cohen's discretion. Needless to say, a bootleg version of Hamilton you find online is not acceptable. But sometimes the BBC or a similar company will film a live performance; if that is the case, please check with me in advance, and I will research to see if it can work.
Q. My critique is due today and I'm absent and/or my printer is out of ink. Can I email my critique? Is it okay to turn in late. 
A. Yes, you should email your critique as an attached .doc or .pdf file. Please don't embed the text into your email message. .odt files or other proprietary softwares are not accepted. If you can't attach a .doc or .pdf an open shared cloud document (Google Drive) is acceptable. However, if there are any issues with my ability to open the file due to sharing settings, the document may be late. Don't forget to scan and send your ticket stub.
Absence does not excuse your critique from being late. This is a long-term assignment, there are not exceptions to the due dates.
Q. I lost my ticket / no ticket was issued/I had to turn the ticket in to my English teacher. Can I attach the program? What if there isn't a program?
A. NO! Please don't turn in your program. Your best bet is to ask your parents to sign your critique verifying that you attended the show with the date of attendance included. 
Q. What if I am not sure about the show?
A. Email Mr Cohen ( production information. Don't just send a show title, but include a link to the particular production you are looking at seeing, and he can respond with an opinion.
Q. I can't find a show to see, can I skip this assignment?
A. NO! This is Los Angeles. Arguably the largest city for theatre in the World. You can find a show. Check out the Helpful Links page for some ideas. 
to laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -- this is to have succeeded
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