Characterisation Exercise

Playwriting Exercises - CREATIVE CUP OF TEA

After our class on characterisation, Professor Musgrave wanted us to start an exercise in class in which we needed to create a character. He suggersted all the first steps that a writer should take when creating a new character to put on stage.

Gender. Male.

Ethnicity. White Caucasian. Italian.

Name. Cosimo. 

3 Physical Characteristics. Blonde/greyish hair. Beard of 7 days. Low and harsh voice because of cigarettes. 

Where do their money come from? Freelance work.

What kind of accomodation does he have? He lives in a hut.

Where is this accomodation? A wood in Scotland.

What do they lack in life? He lacks love. And a close friendship.

What do they need right now? He needs to try to understand if he did the right choice in leaving his girlfriend and hometown behind.

What secret they have? He desperately wants to go back home but he wouldn’t ever admit it.

What problem do they have? He definitely takes too much alcohol and drugs.

What memory do they have? His girlfriend throwing a gin tonic in his face.

What do they believe in? He believes in friendship, even though he would never admit it.

What do they wish for? He wishes something to happen and make him realise what he really needs to do, because he’s too confused now.

Where are they now? He’s in his hometown in Italy, celebrating a stag night.

What are they doing? He’s celebrating a stag night and having fun with his old mates.

What is he thinking or saying? He sees his ex-gf (she’s celebrating the hen night with her girls) and he realises he’s always going to love her.

What are three things that you think are important about him? 1) He is a literature dork. 2) He doesn’t want to admit he’d love to come back. 3) He secretly hates being alone but he knows he would feel bad in Italy as well.


Now expand this character with 5 pieces of information about them.

  1. He has loved his girlfriend deeply but he knows that they can’t be together. They don’t share the same life values and always fight.
  2. He misses his mates, but he knows that if he comes back to his hometown it will not be the same as their old times together.
  3. He doesn’t want to accept the fact that he is a fail, or at least he has accepted it but does not know how to change it.
  4. He deeply loved the city where he was born even if he suddenly fled to Scotland. He went away because he felt under pressure, everyone was moving away and he felt close to a breakup with his girlfriend.
  5. He has never had a relationship in Scotland, only a few one night stands.

Now expand this character with 10 questions about them.

  1. Has he ever really loved Romilda?
  2. Has he ever really loved anybody?
  3. Why does he take drugs and alcohol?
  4. Is he a nature lover?
  5. Why does he like living alone?
  6. Does he really like it?
  7. Why would he like to go back?
  8. What exactly does he miss?
  9. Does he still love Romilda?
  10. What does he expect from this stag night and wedding?

Asking many questions and trying to force myself in deepening and developing this character helped me find may features and shades that I had inside me but hadn’t work out or put to light. I am happy I did and I will use this system when creating new characters in the future.




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