I'm still a neophyte in TEI, but I'm interested in using it to mark up
prompt books, which are copies of plays that have been used for productions
and consequently have various alterations and annotations (such as cues,
director's notes, instructions from the stage manager, changed stage
directions, cuts, etc). From what I can tell, the TEI drama tag set does
not accommodate these easily. There seem to be several types of
difficulties. I realize that to a greater or lesser extent they can be
handled (if not precisely "solved") by extending the DTD, and possibly I've
missed some uses of existing tags. However, I think there's a larger
question, which I'll get to. But first the difficulties:
1) Stage directions that occur not between speeches or within a speech, but
instead span several speeches, with specific start and stop points (such as
a dance). The problem with overlap and multiple heirarchies in SGML is of
course well known (and appears to be greater in XML, with the loss of
CONCUR). I've seen a very useful article by David Barnard et al discussing
some strategies for managing such overlap. One would be to add a tag with
a start/end attribute and linking ID: something like <action start
id="A42"> and <action end id="A42">. It's imperfect (and a minor pain in
the neck), but it would do. But one does have to extend the DTD.
2) Multiple authorship. The text of the play may include stage directions
by the author, and additional or corrected stage directions provided by an
editor . . . and the director may ignore them entirely, instead creating
completely new stage directions. As far as I can tell, the drama tags
provide no way to indicate the source of such elements. One would have to
modify the DTD to add a "source" attribute.
3) Cues. These are related to stage directions, and in a way to multiple
authorship. Just one more tag to add to the DTD.
4) Adaptation. This is a radical type of multiple authorship: a director
may cut lines or even whole scenes, reassign or rearrange speeches, add new
material from various sources, and alter the text in other ways. There
seems to be no way to flag structural changes such as these, and it would
be nice to do so in a way that would allow one to identify the content of
cut material, the original location of moved segments, the source of added
material, and so forth. Even more changes to the DTD....
The need for all these changes to the tag set raises a basic conceptual
issue. It is completely normal for plays in production to have the
features I've described. Yet the drama tag set seems unprepared to deal
with them. So my perception is that TEI views drama as literature and
ignores drama as performance (forcing the encoder to modify the DTD
extensively in order to analyze the prompt book as a document of a
performed play). Many theater scholars would be uncomfortable with this
view of drama. Again, as a newbie perhaps I've missed something, but if
I've understood TEI's current capabilities correctly, then I hope that
these limitations will be considered when the drama tags are next revised.
Also, while I'm at it -- I've seen discussions on RDF wrapping Dublin Core
elements, but have there been any discussions anywhere on the relationship
between RDF and the TEI header?
Librarian for Drama, Film and Theater Studies
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