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Theatre Appreciation - 1100 Professor Barrett: A- Play's World


Area A: Worlds of the Play

The general period, place, and conditions of the play's composition: including relevant imagery, pictorial illustrations of the subject matter, related art forms, etc. This concerns the setting in which the action takes place. The setting includes:

  • specific information about the environment,
  • what has happened before the play begins,
  • and the attitudes of characters toward the world of the play.

When doing research on the world of the play, look for information about:

  • Economic environment --class, wealth and poverty
  • Political environment --the relationship of the characters to the form of government under which they live  
  • Social environment --the mores and social institutions under which the characters live  
  • Cultural environment --the arts, architecture, sports, fashion, popular culture  
  • Historical environment --events in history


Finding Background Information

Find out background information on your topic using the online encyclopedias listed below.

The following timeline resources are good for identifying events that had taken place in given years.

Recommended Databases

Video Resources

Video resources can provide access to filmed productions of plays, or documentaries of about topics related to plays under study.  Note that some video resources have additional information, such as essays about the playwright, production or topic that can help you contextualize your analysis of the play.  

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