Quick Sketch

Use Viewpoints to analyze, restructure, and re-envision your play.

When to Use

At any point in the process.


Director Anne Bogart took the idea of Viewpoints from choreographer Mary Overlie and modified them into an acting and directing vocabulary for dealing with the issues of time and space. The represent a clear way of talking about and analyzing different parts of every moment of theatre in relation to the physical body on stage. The Viewpoints book is an excellent place to learn about the specifics of the method. Below I've reiterated the ways these ideas are used in Viewpoints.





Spatial Relationship

Topography (the landscape, the floor pattern, or the design created through movement in the space.)


  1. Re-read your entire play.
  2. Write each of your characters' names on their own note card.
  3. Spend 5 minutes, minimum, in the body of at least two or your characters (move around in the room, in the context of the world and situations you've created in your play, as if you were them).
  4. At the end of each 5 minute session return to their note card and answer the following questions from that character's perspective:
  5. Quickly (and with little thought) write down five of each of the following:

    Objects (e.g. Vase, Tree, Necklace, Letter, etc.)

    Sounds (e.g. Birds, Shotgun, Water, Echo, etc.)

    Actions (e.g. Slap, Spit, Cry, Shatter, etc.)

  6. Instead of trying to rewrite your play, you are going to use all of the above information to "perform" a written Composition (write something different, in a play format, using info collected previously and some random items) as follows:

  7. Write a 3-part piece. Each part must be no less than 2 pages in length. Each part must be separated by a brief monologue given by a different character (of no more than 30 seconds in length). Each part is titled as follows:

    Part 1: The way things look in this world

    Monologue #1

    Part 2: The way things sound in this world

    Monologue #2

    Part 3: The way people are in this world

  8. You must also (try to) include all of the following:

    A great deal of the character info observed from the answers in #4.

    All of the Objects, Sounds, and Actions written down in #5.

    A clear audience (are they observers? A jury? A rioting crowd? etc.)

    A Revelation of Space (the environment must, at some point, open/expand/collapse to reveal something).

    A Revelation of Object (open a box to reveal a gun, move a sofa and reveal a dead body, etc.)

    A Surprise Entrance

    A Broken Expectation

    Two Uses of Extreme Contrast (light/dark, loud/silent, etc.)


This exercise forces you to self-analyze your work and then completely re-envision it (often by abandoning things you thought were important). While the final product may (or may not) be what you initially set out to write, the hope with this exercise is that you:

  1. Discovered something new to add into your play.
  2. Analyzed your play to identify faults.
  3. Imagined your play and found something valuable in the seemingly chaotic process.