Backstage Gaming



There are a lot of ideas we’re going to be throwing around in this show, so here’s a collection of all of them! This list will be updated as we use new terms or introduce new ideas, so you can keep what we’re talking about straight.



The simplest, most boiled-down version of what a story is about, in terms of one character’s ultimate goals. The action of Jack and the Beanstalk, for example, might be put as, “Jack tries to provide for his family,” (among plenty of other interpretations).


The specific, achievable goal of a character in any given scene. This is what actors find to give them something active to do on stage. The best objectives are always in terms of another character in the scene, and are about making them do something for you.


The smallest piece of an actor’s scene analysis. Tactics are the individual choices about how a character is going about achieving their objective in a scene. Tactics are active, in terms of the character that is being interacted with, and change frequently over the course of a scene.

Given Circumstances

Everything that a character knows going into a given scene. Frequently, this is more than an audience would know, particularly early on in a play, but it can be extremely important in making the most active choices of objective and tactics.

Any moment over the course of a play or scene in which a character learns something new. This frequently leads to the…


A change in objective brought upon by a recognition. Reversals occur throughout a story, but are particularly important and obvious at moments of dramatic climax.