This might have been a short piece rather than a full-length play; I heard about it in a news story. I don't remember any details, but the idea was that instead of actually speaking content words, the actors all just used dialogue which was generic and descriptive, although conveyed plenty of emotion and nuance. E.g.,

Alice: General question?
Bob: Non-committal reply.
Alice: Subtly modified inquiry?
Bob: Suspicious Irony? Confident dismissal.
Alice: Hesitant reiteration...
Bob: Emphatic redirection!
Alice: Shrugging acceptance, faux pleasantry.

Etc. I'm having trouble finding it because any google search for relevant terms like "play using generic words" just gives me lists of theatre jargon and the like.

  • Are you certain it was a play? Because I've seen this same idea used for a joke film trailer.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 6, 2020 at 12:03
  • Oh that could be, any idea where I might find this?
    – scottef
    Apr 6, 2020 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


You might be thinking of this:

Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (2011), by Youtubers BriTANick (original video title Trailer For Every Oscar-Winning Movie Ever [2010])

It's not a play or a piece for theatre, but a spoof film trailer. But the theme of the dialogue is so exactly what you describe that I'm posting it as an answer anyway. For example:

B: Friendly concern that something may be missing from your life.
A: Confidence that nothing is missing in my life.
B: Interrupted statement about -
A: Reassurance that my good fortune will not waver.
[Cut to A in a dark room holding a half-empty bottle. A knock at the door.]


B: Specific outlining of your major character flaws.
A: Overreaction! [slamming B against the wall]
C [unseen]: Friendly black optimistic advice.
D [sobbing]: Passionate plea! Whispered repetition.

  • This is almost certainly what I heard! Marking this answer as correct unless someone else remembers something different along the same lines.
    – scottef
    Apr 6, 2020 at 12:38
  • 1
    Just for the sake of completeness, there is also a song called Title of the song along very much the same lines, which also seems to predate the film trailer.
    – Jos
    Apr 6, 2020 at 18:16
  • 1
    The YouTube link in this answer seems dead.
    – bobble
    Dec 6, 2021 at 23:10
  • @bobble I just noticed that yesterday when I was digging out this video to show someone. As the post wasn't bumped, I can only conclude that you're inside my head :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 7, 2021 at 4:26

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