Iron 17: The Critic

Project Start: June 25, 2017

Project Completion Goal: July 14, 2017

Description: Learn how to do a decent critical review of a live play and publish the work

July 14, 2017: Time to publish

We asked each of the kids to pick one of the six plays that they felt most compelled to write about. It didn't have to be the one they liked most (they kept notes on all six that they watched). They each of them turned in a review and we will be posting those soon. Overall, the project was a huge success! The thoughtful way that each of us digested the art at the festival was uniquely changed when we knew we each had to produce a written review. Being a critic made us more active audience members, and it is something that has changed the way that we think about our live performance experiences. One added bonus was that we had an eight-year old who was also in our group! She took this assignment very seriously... See her review here:

July 11, 2017: how do you create a good criticism?

In order to teach these girls how to write useful and thoughtful criticism, we went to the online resource: We wanted to strike the right balance, keeping this simple enough that first time teenage-critics would be able to digest it (while seeing six plays in one week), and at the same time, would be able to create a thoughtful response (and hopefully learn something about writing a persuasive argument with supporting facts). We sat down with the girls and reviewed the material from Theaterfolk and issued everyone a small note pad and pen... then off to the theater we went!

June 25, 2017: Everybody's a critic

Joy and I received an invitation to join a group of teenage girls who are going to Cedar City, UT to take part in the Shakespeare Festival. While going to arts festivals is a favorite past time of ours, we tried to think of an Iron we could do with these kids. Given the nature of Shakespeare to sometimes be a challenge to understand, and not always the first pick for the youthful audience member, we thought it might be interesting to teach these young art patrons a bit about the value of art criticism. We invited them to write a thoughtful review of one of the plays they would see.