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Humanities Critical Report Assignment

This assignment has been adjusted slightly for our current situation.  Originally it was about viewing LIVE art, theatre, dance, music or other artistic expression – but for one or both of the two papers you may need to stay in the online world.  If you have the opportunity to experience something live, do so carefully.  I will give you some online options of things to do or you can discover your own.  Find ideas HERE.

The Humanities Critical Report involves you in the humanities as an audience member or observer.  This activity calls for a detailed critical report on your experience of somebody else’s creativity and skill.  For example, you might watch and listen to a live or video performance of a concert, view an art exhibit or museum in person or online, watch a live theatre performance or one recorded on video, or watch a documentary film, or other such events.   Fictional or “story” films and television are not allowed for this assignment.  If you are uncertain of your choice, just ask.

These are two different assignments, so select two DIFFERENT events – one event for Critical Report 1 and a different event for Critical Report 2 – and write two different report papers – ONE EXPERIENCE PER PAPER.  So, for example, one report on Theatre and the second report on a Concert – not two of the same.  Due dates for each report are indicated on the schedule.  Every semester, someone turns in the first Critical Report having written about two events OR they turn in the second report having written about the same type of event.  Two different events.  Two different reports.  In selecting an event, keep the following criteria in mind to help you make this event the most appropriate kind of experience for your learning:

  1. If possible, an event involving professionals is preferable to one presenting amateurs.  Semi-professional events would be acceptable.
  2. A live event or a recording of a live event is stronger in its impact and appeal than a version produced for video.
  3. This should be a new event that you are seeing or experiencing specifically to write a critical evaluation.
  4. An unaccustomed event for you will be a greater challenge and learning experience than one which you frequently enjoy.

Your critical report should reflect your careful attention to all aspects of the event you choose to attend.  The report should be in paragraph form and conform to the Guidelines for Writing Assignments in the Course Guidelines and be at least 500 words or two pages long.  Use the guide materials below to help gather appropriate information for your report.  Keep in mind that the finished product is in report or essay form – not a list of answers to questions.

For each event, specify the name or title and the date and place where it occurred.


  1. Briefly describe what the exhibit was about or the kinds of materials it displayed.
  2. List the titles and artists of at least four compositions which most strongly attracted your attention, either positively or negatively.  Describe each in detail.
    1. What was it that caught your eye?
    2. What did you most like or dislike about each?
  3. What ideas or feelings were communicated by the artist or artists through these compositions?  How clearly and effectively?  Explain.
  4. Were there any techniques used by the artist or artists which you found interesting, different, shocking or puzzling?  Explain.
  5. In your opinion, was this a good exhibit?  Do you think the artist or artists were highly skilled and effective or not?  Explain.
    1. Would you like to own any of the compositions yourself?  Why or why not?


  1. Tell briefly the theme of the concert or the type/types of music performed.
  2. List the musical compositions performed.  Which compositions interested you the most?  Which interested you the least?  Explain.
  3. What instruments were used?  How well were they played?  Which instruments impressed you the most?  Explain.
  4. What ideas or feelings were communicated through the music?  How clearly and effectively was this done?  Explain.
  5. What, if any, special effects or techniques were employed in the concert?  Were the musicians generally skilled and competent?  Was this music the kind you frequently listen to?  Would you buy and album of this music or attend another similar concert?  Why or why not?


  1. Briefly summarize the plot.  Try to focus on the central conflict or the basic things that happened.
  2. List the major characters.  Which character impressed you the most?  Describe this character.  Tell why this character impressed you.  (NOTE:  Consider the character not the actor.)
  3. What was the setting (i.e. the time and place) in which the action of the story occurred?  How do you know this?  How were the changes in time and place communicated?
  4. Describe the mood created.  Was this a pleasant or an unpleasant experience for you?  Did you like the way the play ended?  Explain.
  5. Comment on the effectiveness of the staging, props, costumes, lighting and make-up.
  6. From your own point of view, do you think the play was good?  Was it performed well?  Explain.


  1. State the subject treated in the film.
  2. Comment on the organization and development of this documentary film.  Was the subject developed in a logical, orderly manner?  Was the subject effectively introduced and concluded?  Was the film sufficiently complete and thorough, given the time limitations?  Explain.
  3. Was the subject illustrated well?  Was the filming done effectively?  Explain.
  4. Was the treatment of the subject fair and honest?  Why or why not?  What, if any, biases were present in the film?
  5. In your opinion, was the data which was presented accurate?  Cite examples to support your opinion.
  6. From your point of view, was the documentary film informative and helpful to you in understanding the subject matter better?  Were you persuaded to think or act differently because you viewed this film?  Explain.   Would you recommend the film to other people?

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