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People without names in theatre.


In General

  • Ballets, having no dialogue, often lack names for characters even on the cast list:
    • In Agnes de Mille's ballet Rodeo, all of the named characters share this trait: the Cowgirl, the Rancher's Daughter, the Head Wrangler, and the Champion Roper.
    • De Mille did the same thing in Fall River Legend (the Accusednote , the Pastor, the Speaker for the Jury, etc.).
  • Generally if there's a Narrator in a stage show they won't be given a name beyond their function, although they can have other names besides 'Narrator', such as the Stage Manager in Our Town or the Leading Player in Pippin.
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Creators

  • Occurs at least three times in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. There's the title character of The Mikado and both the Pirate King and Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance.
  • Many characters in Plautus's work, including the protagonist of Casina, whose name is only found in other documents, not in the script.

Individual Works

  • None of the characters in the play 12 Angry Men have names. In the script, they are referred to only as "Juror #1", "Juror #2", etc.
  • In 1776, only two characters—the Courier and McNair's assistant Leather Apron—are unnamed because they're the only characters invented completely for the play. (Even the background members of Congress have names, though they're only in full detail in a souvenir playbill.)
  • Boston Marriage revolves around best friends Anna and Claire, and the stresses put on their relationship when Anna gets a sugar daddy and Claire gets a girlfriend. The sugar daddy's name is never mentioned, reflecting the fact that Anna doesn't actually care for him as a person — and neither is the girlfriend's, despite Claire's passionate proclamations of love, foreshadowing the ending where Claire decides Anna is more important to her. Lampshaded in the case of the girlfriend; when she arrives to visit, Anna's maid can be heard offstage asking her name, but her response is not audible.
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  • In Jonathan Rand's Check Please short plays, the two leads are only given the names of Guy and Girl in the script and are never called by any name on stage.
  • In Company, no one is given a surname.
  • In the folk tales, pantomimes, and written accounts of Dick Whittington and His Cat, the cat's name is never mentioned. Never mind that she is arguably the true hero of the story, and Dick merely profits from her actions.
  • In The Drowsy Chaperone, several characters only go by their titles: there's the Man in the Chair, who is even only given ''that'' name in the script, the titular Chaperone (who is referred to as "Chaperone", implying that it may be both her name and title), Underling (who is likewise referred to as just "Underling"), and the Gangsters/Pastry Chefs.
  • The Green Pastures features "Cain's Gal" in one scene, but still doesn't give her a proper name.
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  • Mostly averted in Hamilton, where most characters are named and introduced within seconds of appearing onstage. However, King George III is only ever called "The King", likely due to the fact that there was only one British monarch during the entirety of the show (and thus reducing any possible ambiguity).
  • Most of the characters in Into the Woods. With the exception of Cinderella's stepsisters, the only characters who have proper names are the ones who get them in their original fairy tales.
  • In J.B., the two Messengers are not named, nor is the girl who accompanies them in one scene and even seems to refer to herself as "Girl".
  • In King Island Christmas, with the exception of Oolorano, Little Eir, and Father Carroll, the characters are identified only with their role in the community (Schoolteacher, Newlywed Husband, Bachelor Man, Diet Woman, etc.). The character "Little Eir's Mother" is handled both ways; she is usually notated in the score as such, but is called Mary in dialogue twice (once each by Oolorana and Newlywed Wife).
  • The protagonist of Kismet is identified in the Dramatis Personae only as "a public poet, later called Hajj." (The poet is identified as "Hajj" once in a case of Thoroughly Mistaken Identity.) In the Ronald Colman film version, he's Hafiz, but again this name is spoken only once, in a moderately loud scene with many people talking at once, and it easily slips past your conscious perception.
  • Kiss Me Kate has the mobsters who come to collect on the gambling debt Bill signed in Fred's name to, who are only known as the Two Men.
  • In Les Misérables, many of the revolutionaries are named in blink-and-you'll-miss-'em, quickly sung lines - including Enjolras, Grantaire, and Gavroche, who are three of the most important revolutionaries in the show (The Leader, The Cynic, and the Team Pet, respectively). However, they are all named in the script, somewhat averting this trope. Likewise, the Bishop is never named in the show and called The Bishop in the script.
  • In Next to Normal, it's subtle, but Gabe's name is only actually said once, and only said at the very end when Dan finally accepts his son's death. Throughout the show, this foreshadows the fact that Gabe is just one of Diana's hallucinations, and Dan finally saying the name after years of avoiding it is what signifies him accepting that he still hasn't moved on from Gabe's death.
  • In the Reefer Madness musical, the man who provides the Framing Device for the story is never reffered to by name; most just call him "The Lecturer".
  • The Time of Your Life has a character identified as "Kit Carson" in the Dramatis Personae and who introduces himself as Murphy. Given the wild stories he tells, even he might not even remember his real name.
  • The authority figures in Büchner's Woyzeck are only referred to by their position (Captain, Doctor, Drum Major).


Alternative Title(s): Theater

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