People who know me know I loves lists … why ?

I think they make our life simpler or maybe its just my OCD!

Of course there are bad lists and good lists, when I see acting books twelve stepping a whole process with so many variables as if its an AA meeting I do have a tendency to roll my eyes. Especially if those books don’t have anything new to offer and instead they are rehashing and restocking the deck by calling something that was already there with a different name.

But I get even more nauseated by the psychobabble that usually occurs between actors and over indulging directors who are in love with their voice. So I have a set of lists that seem to stop pseudo sociological and psychological discussions so people can move on with their work. So here we go! (All the lists I am about to lay on you have to do with a text or a script)

But first list first and first questions first

The smallest list I know that begs to be addressed right from the beginning when we hold a text in our hands is about the main theme of the play. What is it about? Well its either about :





Easy right? You don’t think so ? Well I challenge you to find anything beyond that (and no, no Beckett allowed in this challenge, don’t be “absurd”!)

The second list you will bump onto is of course the list of questions that every actor has to answer when they work on a text, the questions vary every time but some always stay the same because they must be answered no matter what, the ones that come and go depend mostly on the importance that has been assigned to them by lets say a teacher or a director and. the role the actor is going to play.

The classic puddle of questions are :






And the 6)How.

We might also start asking questions about obstacles, relationships etc. But we all can agree that the first 6 have to be answered. That’s why I love lists because the simplify our approach. Actors get confused by thinking that an intellectual answer to these questions will settle once for all their acting. but of course that is not the case. Questions and their answers set a frame. And inside that frame you can start being free and creative. In Chaos there are too many choices to many options, I know this might sound counterintuitive , how can a restrictive frame be more creative and more free that “total freedom”. Well ask a writer to tell you how he feels about the “plank page” or the painter to tell you how he feels about the “plank canvas” and your question will be answered!

Back to my lists

Lets zoom in a little more, how about scenes? There must be many types of scenes in a play right? Well how does 3 sound to you ? . Of course there are going to be variables and many combination of those 3. But “the list of three Shall set you free.”

1)argumentative scenes

2)seductive (but not necessarily sexual)


Again let’s. keep it simple, no reason to get into complicated psychobabble discussions about a scene. Maybe a scene is a combination of the first two or maybe of all three. Search what’s happening in a scene Bit by bit! How about the obstacles of a character, how many are there ? Well I am glad you asked. We have two categories external and internal :


1)god or fate


3)an antagonist (other people)

And Internal.



Let’s zoom in again! How many reactions are there? Well this might come as a surprise but : In a scene You either




3)hide what you do (agree or disagree) for any given reason.

And that’s it folks.!

Of course I am over simplifying things and if you’re out to get me, you will do so, no doubt! But before you do, try and answer me this :

why do you want to make your life more difficult?


As far as directors AND LISTS go allow me to let you in on a little secret.

When you get a play in your hands there are a few things that a play has going on. for it





And 5)language

Not all plays represent all 5 (exceptions as always -Shakespeare, ancient Greek plays, Brecht etc)

But let’s take as an example Chekhov, He is usually not that big about spectacle right? You don’t get golden chariots driving towards the sun, or three thousand soldiers marching, do you? His language is simple (the grandfather of naturalism after all), he is light on plot (OK we might disagree on that one) but he does have a “theme” and he does have the most “AMAZING CHARACTERS!” If you try to make a spectacle out of Chekhov well you’ve kinda missed the point!

These are some of my lists, there are of course as I stated before more variations and a more detailed work but stick to these lists and you can’t go wrong ! Plus you are avoiding unnecessary talk ! Who wants to talk when you can get up and play! Hey, You will never get it right by talking about it…

Stay safe and stay playful