This made me think about producing a dichotomous key for use on such occasions. Something along the lines of:
1. That man, you know the one, he:
- wrote that play (go to 2)
- was in that play (go to 3)
2. You know, the play set in:
- northern England (got to 4)
- London or the south (go to 5)
3. You remember the actor. Yes, you do.
- He's dead (go to 6)
- He's still alive (got to 7)
You get the idea ...