Examples for Module 5: Drama

5. Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

This example features a fragment (the front matter and first page) of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, a play in three acts. In this transcription, no further scenes are discerned within the acts.
<text>
<front>
<div type="dramatisPersonae" org="uniform" sample="complete" part="N">
<head>THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY:</head>
<list type="maleParts">
<item>John Worthing, J.P.</item>
<item>Algernon Moncrieff</item>
<item>Rev. Canon Chasuble, D.D.</item>
<item>Merriman, <emph>Butler</emph></item>
<item>Lane, <emph>Manservant</emph></item>
</list>
<list type="femaleParts">
<item>Lady Bracknell</item>
<item>Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax</item>
<item>Cecily Cardew</item>
<item>Miss Prism, <emph>Governess</emph></item>
</list>
</div>
<div type="sceneList" org="uniform" sample="complete" part="N">
<head>THE SCENES OF THE PLAY:</head>
<stage>
<list type="simple">
<item>Act I. Algernon Moncrieff's Flat in Half-Moon Street, W.</item>
<item>Act II. The Garden at the Manor House, Woolton.</item>
<item>Act III. Drawing-room at the Manor House, Woolton.</item>
</list>
</stage>
<stage type="time">TIME: <emph>The Present</emph></stage>
</div>
</front>
<body>
<div1 type="play" org="uniform" sample="complete" part="N">
<head>The Importance of Being Earnest</head>
<pb n="451"/>
<div2 n="1" type="act" org="uniform" sample="complete" part="N">
<head>FIRST ACT</head>
<stage type="setting"> Scene <view>
<emph>Morning-room in Algernon's flat in Half-Moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished. The sound of a piano is heard in the adjoining room.</emph>
<emph>Lane is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the music has ceased, Algernon enters.</emph>
</view> </stage>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p>Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>I didn't think it polite to listen, sir.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p>I'm sorry for that, for your sake. I don't play accurately—anyone can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned sentiment is my <foreign xml:lang="fr">forte</foreign>. I keep science for Life.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>Yes, sir.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p>And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>Yes, sir.</p>
<stage>[<emph>Hands them on a salver.</emph>]</stage>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p><stage>[<emph>Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa.</emph>]</stage> Oh! … by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p>Why is it that at a bachelor's establishment the servants invariably drink the champagne? I ask merely for information.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir. I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p>Good Heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that?</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>I believe it <emph>is</emph> a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been married once. That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Algernon.</speaker>
<p><stage>[<emph>Languidly.</emph>]</stage> I don't know that I am much interested in your family life, Lane.</p>
</sp>
<sp>
<speaker>Lane.</speaker>
<p>No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never think of it myself.</p>
</sp>
<pb n="452"/>
<!-- ... -->
</div2>
</div1>
</body>
</text>
The actual text is preceded by a character list and a list of the scenes, both encoded as <div> elements inside the <front> part of the <text>, with appropriate values for their @type attributes. The character list is encoded as a plain <list> structure, containing plain <item> elements for the characters (divided into sublists of male and female characters). Role descriptions are encoded with <emph> elements. Whereas the specialised <castList>, <castGroup> and <castItem>, <role>, and <roleDesc> elements could have been used, this is a perfectly legal (though less semantically rich) interpretation and application of the TEI elements. The scenes are listed in a <stage> element, which is a bit more controversial, as the TEI Guidelines make a clear distinction between the <stage> element (stage directions in or in between speeches) and <set> (a description of the setting, time, locale, appearance, etc., of the action of a play, typically found in the front matter of a printed performance text (not a stage direction)) elements. Because it is wrapped inside a <div> structure, this is valid TEI, but the encoding could probably be improved to:
<front>
<set>
<head>THE SCENES OF THE PLAY:</head>
<list type="simple">
<item>Act I. Algernon Moncrieff's Flat in Half-Moon Street, W.</item>
<item>Act II. The Garden at the Manor House, Woolton.</item>
<item>Act III. Drawing-room at the Manor House, Woolton.</item>
</list>
</set>
<set>TIME: <emph>The Present</emph></set>
</front>
The play itself is encoded as a <div1> level text division, in which each act is wrapped in a <div2> element. Inside the speeches (<sp>), the speakers are transcribed as <speaker>, and the speech as prose paragraphs (<p>). Stage directions (<stage>) occur between and in the speeches. Note how at the beginning of the act, the <view> element is used inside a stage direction, to describe the visual aspects of the setting. This is probably a liberal interpretation of the semantics of this element, which is more geared to the visual context of some part of a screen play, viz. the description of what's on a screen. The <view> element doesn't seem strictly necessary here: a <stage type="setting"> would probably convey the same information.
[5]

Bibliography

[1] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Ibsen, Henrik (1918). The Wild Duck. New York: Boni and Liveright, Inc.. Encoded and made available by the University of Virginia Library, Text Collection at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/IbsWild.html
[2] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Marlowe, Christopher (1616). The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus. Encoded and made available by the Perseus Digital Library. Available online at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.03.0011
[3] TBE crafted example encoding of Melville, Herman, Moby-Dick or, The Whale London, Bombay, Sidney 1922. p. 214-215.. Based on the facsimile edition made available by the Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/details/mobydickorwhale01melvuoft.
[4] Based on a TEI P4 XML encoding of Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. Encoded and made available by the Perseus Digital Library. Available online at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.03.0037
[5] Based on a TEI P3 SGML encoding of Wilde, Oscar, The Importance of Being Earnest. Encoded and made available by CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork. Available online at ftp://ftp.ucc.ie/pub/celt/texts/E850003.002.sgml.
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