Stage directions

stage direction drama
stage sp

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

Stage directions in TEI are encoded with the stage element. This element may appear in several different places:

With all of these options it is worth putting some thought into where the stage element really belongs. You should consider not only where the printed stage direction appears on the page, but also where the action it describes is supposed to take place and what part of the drama it modifies. So 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 sp rather than within l, with a rend attribute if necessary (e.g. break(yes) or break(no)) to indicate whether or not it appears on a line by itself. 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 a stage direction falls immediately before or after a speech, it should be encoded outside the sp element rather than as its first or last child.

In cases where a speaker identification is embedded within a stage direction, you may 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.


Example 1.

A stage direction with a nested speaker; the speaker element is not used.

<sp who="poeha">
<stage type="entrance" rend="align(center)">Enter 
<lg type="drama.verse">
<l><persName>Canutus</persName> &s;ends to 
    <persName>Edmund</persName> friendly greeting.</l>