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This Is How It Goes. Show Analysis Critical Essay

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Updated: Dec 28th, 2019


Generally, it is evident that This Is How It Goes is a well elaborated piece of work that can be termed as deceptive piece of work. It has been directed by Tom Ross and written by Neil Labute as a representation of the real world. Although, the plot of the show is fairly insignificant in this review, there are some essential features of the show that forms its basis due.

In an overview, This Is How It Goes is a show that was acted by three characters including Cody, Man and a Woman. They form a triangle that is characterized by a conflict of interest among them. The conflict of interest emerges due to competition for love in which Cody and the Man are trying to win the love of the Woman.

In addition, it is important acknowledge that the Woman is married to the man whom she is does not love. This unhappy marriage is subjected to the emergence of the man who had met with the woman back in high school. This implies that the two men must develop characteristics that exhibit competence and love for them to survive.

The other important factor that is evident in this show is the willingness of the Woman to accommodate the two men in her social circle. Having formed the foundation of this review, I can focus on the performance of the actors in terms of their ability to bring out the above situation. The review will be focusing on the voice, movement and gestures.


Cody is a flawlessly confident actor who uses his voice, movements and gestures to cope up with the situation that faces him. His situation is characterized by a man who wants to break their marriage. In light of this situation, he embraces confidence that helps him to take charge of the scene. In order to attain this confidence, Cody uses a high and bold tone that allows him to take charge on the others.

The bold tone enables him be authoritative amongst his colleagues especially his male counterpart. This is seen when he commands his wife not to talk too much when he is around. This was an instance where the Man hugged his wife when he was not around them. This command sends his wife into silence, but the Man intervenes for competition.

However, Cody meets this intervention with the same bold tone that commands silence from his counterpart. However, the bold tone is exaggerated at some instances in a manner can be noted by the observers. He is does not articulate the sound naturally. Instead, the voice is articulated in a manner that the audience can perceive it to be stage managed.

The most important aspect of the sound is that it enables him to create the situation that is intended. As a matter of fact, creation of the intended situation is the most important factor of production. Using his tonal variation, he has substantially achieved this situation leading to a satisfactory performance.

Movements of actors are factors of performance in all arts including shows, plays, and drama among other literally works. Cody uses various movements in his performance in order to satisfy his position in action. He makes fast, slow and restrained movements among others according to suit the situation. His movements show his inner feeling and induce the desired effect on his colleagues.

For example, he moves slowly when he gets his wife hugging the man in this show. He walks in a restrained manner that shows dissatisfaction in order to alert his colleagues about his next action. When he meets the man for the first time, he makes very short and slow strides towards him portraying strangeness and some level of dissatisfaction.

In that instance, he greets the man in a pretty careless handshake that portrays an ingrained feeling of competition. He uses fast movements especially when he wants to pass a careless comment to his male counterpart or when he wants to challenge his wife. For example, when his wife complains that he does not care about whether he is happy or not, he turns very first and asks what he meant.

When his counterpart carelessly suggest that his wife means that he should leave for Africa, he stands up at a fast speed showing disappointment. Cody uses gesture better than he uses anything his voice and movements in the play. He uses them perfectly to express his inner feelings and to achieve physical command. He is used to pointing at his colleagues especially when he wants to insult or belittle the man in front of his wife.

Pointing becomes most important when he wants to warn in a physical confrontation. He combines this gesture with effective visual expression where he opens his eyes wide open and develops wrinkles on his face. This combination aims at threatening and creating fear on his counterpart in order to waiver him away from his marriage.

In fact, his behavior of opening the eyes wide is an expression that he uses in different situations and in differing events. His ability to use a single item to give different effects on stage is an outstanding skill. In fact, he has a special ability of having volatile feelings and moods that does not satisfy his wife. His performance makes him a real actor who offends others carelessly and takes offense on others quickly.

The Man

The man comes from Midwest and meets his former classmate who is married to Cody. Since he has fallen in love with her in high school, he launches a tough competition to Cody in pursuit of this woman. He is very jovial, full of jokes and awkwardly careless about his conduct in front of the couples. He, also, uses his voice, movements and gestures to achieve competence against Cody.

However, he has a natural outgoing characteristic that threatens Cody in his social circle. He uses a soft voice with a careless tone that enables him to dissolve the seriousness of Cody in their discussion. He always communicates in rather careless statements that still relay the desired message. I one instance, the woman complain that Cody did not care about his happiness.

When Cody asks what the woman meant, the man suggested that the woman told him to go back to Africa. In fact, this sets the audience on laughter due to his natural humor that is embedded on his voice. This joking tone is evident in another instance where Cody warns his wife against talking too much when he is present. However, the man revert the statement by asking whether he was referring to him since he stood on the same side with Cody.

This reduces the effect of seriousness exhibited by Cody in his conversation with his wife. He uses it as a tool of invoking conversation from the woman and irritating Cody at all times. This is seen when he comes back from Midwest and meets the woman after a long time of separation. In spite of this separation, he manages to hold a lengthy talk with the woman.

This enables him win the natural love from this woman. In fact, one can confirm that the woman like him naturally as opposed to Cody who always remain cold and moody. The man has an additional ability allowing him to change his voice according to the situation facing him. It is very clear that he changes his voice to act like a drunkard when he takes beer.

His voice, which is free of exaggeration, is naturally articulated all along the play. His power of language lies on the use of jokes and jovial ascent. His movements play an important role in relaying his messages during this play. He makes movements that are fairly unrestrained and unorganized. These movements are mainly informal and playful to his counterparts.

When he is making sarcastic statements, the man always make relaxed movements around the house in order to disappoint his counterpart completely. For example, when he was suggesting that the woman want Cody to go back to Africa, he makes a composed movement while looking at Cody. This disappoints Cody and set him on anger making him to stand up and confront him in front of his wife.

He, also, makes unidirectional movements around the room showing informality. For example, he briefly follows the woman after hugging her and then stops after two strides. This shows unidirectional movements portraying informality that is his basis of countering his male partner. The man uses gesture all through his action period especially when addressing his colleagues.

His gestures are cool portraying a jovial spirit that is not easily offended by insults and rude statements. Most of his gestures are related to hand movements showing a relaxed flow of ideas in his actions. These gestures come out naturally and combine excellently with the body movement instilling an ideology of natural performance on stage.

They portray less concern about issues that seem to be of more importance that he takes them. He uses much sigh showing relief and little concern about the issues raised by his colleagues. The sigh is combined with appropriate hand movement in the air at all points where it appears. Regarding the visual expression, he is ever happy and jovial.

He smiles even when Cody looks very unpleasant for him in the house. This helps him to overcome the confidence of Cody by taking little caution when talking to him. The man and Cody are perfect opposites representing two different characters of people in the real world. In fact, they make a perfect reflection of the eventualities that take place in society.

The Woman

The woman has a difficult task of accommodating two men who love her at the same time. She seeks to accommodate his husband, whom she doesn’t love much, and his former friend. Characteristically, the woman is outgoing and has a big heart that accommodates the two men. He acts naturally in all his gestures, actions, movements, visual expressions.

Her voice enables her to take the position of womanhood within his social circle that has presented her with a situation of conflicting men. She adopts favorable tonal variations that seek to suit each of the two men at different moments. When his husband raises his voce, the woman reduces the strength of her voices in order to subside below him.

In most instances, she keeps quiet when the two men confront each other by exchanging words. She uses a jovial tone when they are in a happy mood or when she needs to ease the conflict between the man and Cody. Her voice is not exaggerated; instead it is a natural reflection of a real self.

In terms of the movements, she makes suggestive movements around the scene. Her movements send a clear message of what she feels about her colleagues. For example, she moves very fast to congratulate her husband when he wears a suit in order to satisfy his ego.

On the contrary, we see her sitting down without moving when his husband enters into the house looking moody and holding a basketball T-shirt. She has a tendency of touching his colleagues to portray love for them. She is seen hugging, touching and greeting Cody and the man for different purposes. The best thing with her movements is that they are limited in order to resemble the natural way of living


The play is a presentation is a completely unique and outstanding presentation that shows authenticity. The structure of the play is not altered in any way due to exact articulation of action. the competence of the actors especially when changing their situations keeps the audience lively. In fact, some of the preview for this show indicates that it is difficult to turn your eyes away from the scene.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "This Is How It Goes. Show Analysis." December 28, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/this-is-how-it-goes-show-analysis/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'This Is How It Goes. Show Analysis'. 28 December.

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