A legendary playwright came up with this idea and hence the name, so goes a theory. Thespis (6th century BC), a Greek theatre playwright introduced a ‘speaking part’ for actors not part of the chorus. Such speaking parts were differentiated by masks, hence the same actor could play all the parts. The word ‘thespian’ stems from this story and is used to refer to actors. Interestingly, Thespis performed these ‘individual’ parts in his plays, so he can be considered as the first actor.