Stage directions [202]


Encoding of stage directions in drama and verse dialogues, position of stage directions, identification of speakers within stage directions


The WWP uses the <stage> element to encode stage directions. The <stage> element may appear within or between <p> elements in prose drama, and within or between <l>s in verse drama or verse dialogues. It can also go between speeches. The only case when a <stage> element should be nested within an <l> element is when it falls in the middle of a verse line. In cases where the stage direction falls at the end of a verse line or between verse lines, it should be encoded as a child of <lg> rather than within <l>, with break(yes) or break(no) to indicate whether or not it appears on a line by itself.

The WWP does not indicate the expanded value of an abbreviated personal name inside a stage direction, neither by using key= (unless said character exists outside the text, too), nor by using corresp=, nor <abbr> with expan=. We simply encode them as <persName>, as with all other names that appear in the text. We believe that the cost of such expansion outweighs the possible benefit to end users searching for names inside dramas.

In cases where a speaker identification is embedded within a stage direction, we simply encode the entire thing as a stage direction, without a separate <speaker> element inside. In a sense, the <speaker> element is a special case of a stage direction: one which simply indicates that someone is speaking. Since the person speaking is identified by the who= attribute on <sp>, no information is lost.

Thus in Example 1, Harold’s name is not encoded with <speaker>, even though it is clear that he is the speaker of the lines following his entrance.

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