Stanislavski’s 5 questions

 With Stanislavski’s Five Questions in mind, please re-read August Wilson’s 1985 Pulitzer prize-winning play, FencesPreview the document, paying special attention to the character of Troy Maxson. (As you are reading, you might write down any facts, that is, any circumstances from Troy’s life history you think might be a key to understanding who Troy is and his motivations (why he does what he does). Next, use the first three of Stanislavski’s Five Questions, listed below, to analyze the character of Troy Maxson. 1) Who Am I? 2) Where and When Am I? 3) What Do I Want? (Super-objective) Remember to write your answers in the first person (“I”, rather than “he” or “she”). When you answer the first question, Who Am I?, we’re interested in all of Troy’s experiences up to the beginning of the play, that is, what has made Troy who he is when the play begins on page one, not what happens to him during the play. (Therefore, the fact that he dies of a heart attack, for instance, is not part of who he is.) Further, we want facts, not opinion, here. (Example: Even though Wilson writes that Troy is “a large man with thick, heavy hands”, this is still a subjective observation, not a concrete fact.) For an example to follow, I urge you to refer to my answer to this question for Blanche in Streetcar provided here: Stanislavski’s Five Questions. When you answer the second question, Where and When Am I?, we’re interested in where Troy is when the play begins. Not necessarily his exact location, i.e., in his kitchen, in his bedroom. etc., though that’s also important, but geographic location, and what it means to be a man like him in a town/city/state/country/continent/planet, etc. at that time (day/month/season/year). When you answer the third question, What do I want?, please state the character’s super-objective, that is, the overriding need of the character for the entire play, and explain how the character’s past and present circumstances (questions 1 & 2) create this need. The need itself should be expressed in one sentence: “I need to be free”; “I need to be cared for”; “I need to save the world”; etc.

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