TEI by ExampleModule 5: DramaRon Van den BrandenEdward VanhoutteMelissa TerrasAssociation for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC)Centre for Data, Culture and Society, University of Edinburgh, UKCentre for Digital Humanities (CDH), University College London, UKCentre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH), King’s College London, UKCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB)Royal Academy of Dutch Language and LiteratureKoningstraat 189000 GentBelgiumctb@kantl.beEdward VanhoutteMelissa TerrasCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB) , Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature, BelgiumGentCentre for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies (CTB)Royal Academy of Dutch Language and LiteratureKoningstraat 189000 GentBelgium
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License
9 July 2010TEI By Example.Edward VanhoutteeditorRon Van den BrandeneditorMelissa Terraseditor
TEI By Example offers a series of freely available online tutorials walking individuals through the different stages in marking up a document in TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). Besides a general introduction to text encoding, step-by-step tutorial modules provide example-based introductions to eight different aspects of electronic text markup for the humanities. Each tutorial module is accompanied with a dedicated examples section, illustrating actual TEI encoding practise with real-life examples. The theory of the tutorial modules can be tested in interactive tests and exercises.
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Module 5: Drama
This module treats the encoding of texts that are meant to be performed in some way, or that are transcriptions of stage performances. Although the TEI Guidelines do not discriminate between the many possible kinds of ways to perform such texts, it is important to notice that the TEI recommendations apply to written representations of performance texts. Because these texts have particular structural characteristics, they are treated in a separate chapter of the TEI Guidelines, 7. Performance Texts, documenting the TEI elements in the dedicated drama module. In order to use all elements discussed in this tutorial, it is therefore necessary to include the drama module in your TEI schema, as explained in of this tutorial series.It is important to notice that the TEI drama module is intended for the transcription of the structural aspects of written (or printed) drama texts. For the transcription of actual stage performances as spoken texts, the TEI Guidelines refer to the elements defined in the spoken module, documented in chapter 8. Transcriptions of Speech of the TEI Guidelines.
Consider following text:
When determining this text’s structural DNA, it is clear that it is not prose, nor poetry. On the macro-level, the major structural divisions are acts and scenes (instead of prose chapters or poetic stanzas). On the micro-level, the basic textual unit is made up of short lines of text. At first sight, they visually appear as poetic lines, yet there is no systematic rhyme nor metre in this case. On the other hand, each line could be considered a mini-paragraph. Yet, the text lines (be it lines or paragraphs) seem to be grouped according to a specific rhetorical principle: the narrative character by whom they are spoken. Often, as in this example, this character is named at the beginning of each utterance. It is these utterances (called speeches) that make up the basic structural unit of drama texts.
As this example illustrates, a drama text shares some characteristics with other text genres, but has its own specific structural features, too. Common structural text elements can be encoded with the elements discussed in of this tutorial series. The elements specific to drama texts are discussed in this module.
Identify and try to name all structural units you can distinguish in the text above.
These are significant elements of drama texts that are discussed in this tutorial module:
ActsScenesSet descriptionsSpeechesStage directionsTechnical directions
The following sections of this tutorial explain how these phenomena can be encoded using TEI.
Structural Divisions of the Actual Text
As with any other TEI text, the actual contents of drama texts are encoded in body, possibly preceded by front matter in front and succeeded by back matter in back. Inside body, the actual text often has specific structures: acts and scenes. Like parts and chapters in prose works, these can be encoded using the generic TEI element div (division). In order to identify the nature of the text divisions, they can be characterised in a type attribute. For text divisions in drama texts, the values act and scene can be used, although you can use your own typology if so desired. For our example text, the major structural divisions can be encoded as follows:
Of course, this markup is far from complete, and even invalid TEI, as the TEI Guidelines stipulate that div text divisions cannot contain unstructured text. We’ll fill in the blanks in the next sections of this tutorial.
Commonly distinguished large structures in drama texts are acts and scenes. They can be encoded in TEI using the generic div element for text divisions. The nature of the text division can be characterised in a type attribute.
The Basic Building Block: Speeches
One of the most distinctive organisational principles in drama texts is the grouping of text lines in utterances, spoken by the respective characters. Each line of speech can be encoded in a sp (speech) element. When present in the text source, the indications of the speaking character can be encoded in a speaker element. The actual text of a speech line should be further encoded as a paragraph (p) or verse line (l, possibly grouped in lg). If the encoder is undecided about the prose or verse qualities of the text lines, ab (anonymous block) may also be used.A dramatic speech line (sp) cannot contain unstructured text: it should be encoded further as paragraph (p), verse line (l, possibly grouped in lg), or genre-unspecified anonymous block (ab).
For example, the last three speech lines in the example can be encoded as follows:
Notice how in this example, the colons after the name labels have been left out of the transcription. This is an editorial choice that can be motivated by the fact that the colons themselves are purely typographical separators between the labels and the text, that can systematically be reproduced when this transcription is rendered. Likewise, the blank line between both groups of speeches has been omitted as a purely typographic feature. Typographical line breaks can of course be encoded where they occur with empty lb elements.
The sp element provides a more formal mechanism for indicating the speaking character, by means of a who attribute. Its value points to a definition of this character elsewhere in the transcription. The value of this definition’s xml:id attribute is used in the who attribute, preceded with a hash character (#), in order to indicate it as the identifier part of a formal URI reference. For example:
Notice how this example assumes that both characters are identified elsewhere in the transcription, with comp and user as respective values for their xml:id attribute. A common place for such definitions in drama texts is in a cast list, introducing all characters of the play. For the encoding of cast lists, see in this tutorial module. When text is spoken by more than one character, the identification codes for all of them can be listed in the who attribute, separated by white space.
Of course, the encoder is free to choose which identification mechanism will be used for the speakers in the transcription. When the markers are present in the text source, their bare transcription in speaker (see ) may suffice. It may make equal sense to use both systems (transcription of the actual speaker labels in the source text in speaker, and a formal identification in the who attribute), as in . If the source text has no explicit markers of the speaking characters, or if these markers are present but not deemed relevant to the transcription (and could be reconstructed systematically when rendering the transcription), only the formal identification in the who may be used:It is important to point out the different nature of both identification mechanisms for speakers: speaker can only contain a literal transcription of a speaker label in the source text; who can only contain an abstract identification code provided by the encoder.
The speeches of a drama text can be encoded in the sp element. In order to identify the speaking character, either the who attribute may be used on the sp element, or the speaker label may be transcribed from the source text in a speaker element (or both mechanisms may be used together). Apart from the speaker label, speeches must contain structured text, either in p, l (possibly grouped in lg), or genre-neutral ab elements.
The encoding of all speeches in our example text would still leave some text structures uncovered: all fragments enclosed in parentheses or square brackets. These text fragments are not meant to be spoken in the performance, but rather convey directions on aspects of the performance. Such stage directions can be transcribed with the stage element. Stage directions can address aspects of the acting, technical circumstances, locations, music, and so on. In order to distinguish between these different types of stage directions, the type attribute can be used on the stage element. The encoder is free to develop an own typology for the kinds of stage directions.
Stage directions can occur in the transcription wherever they appear in the source text. In our example, the stage directions (between parentheses or square brackets) can be encoded as follows:
The TEI Guidelines provide a specialised element for indicating movements of characters: the empty move element. It may be used either to complement implicit movement descriptions in stage directions, or to formally document movement of characters when it is absent from the stage directions. Being an empty element, all information is conveyed in specific attributes. The type attribute can be used to categorise the movement (for example: entrance and exit for stage entrance and exit, respectively; or onStage for movement on stage). The moving character(s) can be indicated in the who attribute, as a white space separated list of formal codes with which they are identified elsewhere in the transcription (see ). The where attribute may be used to specify the direction of the movement. Any system of location information may be used (for example, C for centre, L for stage left, R for stage right), as long as it is identified in the header of the transcription.
In our example, the encoding of the entrance and exit of the user character could be formally enriched with the move element:
It is equally possible to distinguish technical stage directions from general stage directions, using specialised elements. Directions regarding sounds can be encoded using the sound element. The type element can indicate what kind of sound is meant, while the discrete attribute can specify whether the sound overlaps with the surrounding speeches (false), or not (true). For example:
Descriptions of the contents of a screen (usual in transcriptions of screen plays) can be encoded in a view element. In our example, this could apply to the description of both screens on the stage:
Specific camera directions can be encoded using the camera element, whose type attribute can specify the direction:
Directions about text to be displayed on screen (usual in transcriptions of screen plays) can be encoded in a caption element. This could be applied to the directions on both screens on the stage:
Other technical stage directions, not meant for the actors can be encoded with the tech element, with a type attribute for classifying the stage direction. The type attribute can be used for a typology of such technical directions: light (a lighting instruction), sound (a sound instruction), prop (a direction for props), or block (a blocking cue, i.e., related to position and movement on stage).
Stage directions, providing more information about the circumstances of the performance, may be transcribed using the stage element. The type attribute can be used to further specify the kind of stage direction. Movement of characters can be formally encoded using the empty move element. The type of movement can be specified in a type attribute, a pointer to the moving character can be provided in the who attribute, and the location of the movement can be specified in the where attribute. Technical stage directions can be distinguished from more general ones by means of specific elements. Sound directions can be encoded with the sound element, whose type attribute can specify the kind of sound described, while the discrete attribute can specify whether the sound overlaps (false) with the dialogue or not (true). Descriptions of screen contents can be encoded with the view element. Specific camera instructions can be encoded with camera, whose type attribute specifies the kind of camera instruction. Directions for screen captions can be encoded using the caption element. Other technical stage directions can be encoded in the tech element, whose type attribute can be used to specify whether the stage direction concerns lighting cues (light), sound cues (sound), prop cues (prop), or blocking cues (block).
Front and Back Matter
Besides peculiar basic structures in the actual text, drama texts can be preceded or followed by specific structural elements. Consider following fragments preceding and succeeding the play’s body text:
USER: a computer user
COMP: a DECPDP-10 computer
PROG: the computer programmer
ENGI: an engineer
The play is situated in an anonymous computer
lab room, at an undetermined time. Technical
equipment looks outdated, though, while
suggesting naive technological optimism.
Prologue, spoken by USER:
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
Epilogue, spoken by PROG:
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Hello World, and Goodbye. Performed for
the first time on the Festival for Computing
in the Humanities, at Shakespeare's
New Globe Theatre, London,
on June 21, 2050. Actors: Alfred Brown - PROG,
Barry Crowne - ENGI, Douglas Everett - USER.
What structural elements can you distinguish in these front and back sections?
Following are significant elements in a drama text’s front and back part:
Cast listDescription of settingPrologueEpiloguePerformance information
The following sections of this tutorial explain how these structures can be encoded using TEI.
The front matter of this play starts with an enumeration of all dramatic characters, and a brief explanation of their respective roles in the play. This could be encoded as a basic TEI list, with each character and role set as a distinct item. However, the drama module includes a dedicated castList element. Inside castList, each named character is to be encoded as a distinct castItem element. This description of a cast item can consist of a role element, describing the name of the dramatic role; a roleDesc element, describing the role of that character; and an actor element, naming the actor performing the role:
This example, however, is incorrect. A castList element doesn’t allow plain text, as illustrated by the highlighted phrase demigods:. Rather than naming or describing one single character, this functions as a kind of label for the following two character descriptions. This suggests a grouping, which can be accomplished in TEI by wrapping grouped castItem elements in a castGroup element. The label, then, can be encoded as a head for the castGroup. The rend attribute can be used to indicate any typographical indication of this grouping. If in our example, the PROG and ENGI character descriptions are grouped using a brace, this can be expressed by the value braced for the rend attribute:
If we look closely, we can see that the last two character descriptions could be considered a group as well. Yet, they are a mere enumeration of character names (without any grouping label). Minor anonymous roles in a play are often just listed together. Such groups of anonymous roles can be grouped in a single castItem element, with a type=list attribute. Notice how these character descriptions only consist of a role description:
Notice how the rend attribute on this castGroup element is used to indicate that the grouping of cast items is typographically supported by using braces.
Remember how other elements in the transcription of this drama text referred to the definition of dramatic characters elsewhere in the transcription (see )? Well, this is the place! Therefore, we’ll add the identification codes to the respective role elements, using the xml:id attribute:
A cast list can be encoded with the castList element. It consists of a number of castItem elements, providing information on the name of the role (role), the description of the dramatic role (roleDesc), and/or actors who perform(ed) the role (actor). Enumerations of minor characters can be encoded in a single castItem element, with a type attribute whose value is list. Groups of character descriptions in castItem can be wrapped in a castGroup element.
Description of Setting
Sometimes, the front matter of a play contains a general description of the setting. This can be encoded with the specific set element. As set can’t contain plain text, its text should be wrapped in paragraphs (or lines, for that matter). For example:Caution! Whereas a general description of the settings in the front matter of a drama text is to be encoded in a set element, descriptions of the setting in the body of a drama text should be encoded as stage directions with stage (see ).
If the front part of a drama text contains descriptions of the settings in which the action of the play takes place, these should be encoded in p elements inside a set element.
Prologue and Epilogue
A drama text may be preceded and/or concluded by a short speech. Such speeches can be encoded as prologue and epilogue, respectively. They can be encoded according to their genre-characteristics (most often prose or verse), or according to their rhetoric characteristics (as a speech in sp, which is particularly meaningful if the speech contains typical dramatical elements such as stage directions). Here is an example of both approaches:Notice, that the analysis of a speech as prologue or epilogue is sometimes open to interpretation. When such speeches immediately precede or follow the actual drama text, they may as well be regarded as a separate division of the text body. Notice, however, that they should then be encoded inside the existing dramatic structure, or inside a separate textual division (div). When considered as part of the actual drama text, they may not be encoded as prologue or epilogue.
Speeches serving as a prologue or epilogue to a play can be encoded with prologue, or epilogue, respectively.
The front or back matter of a drama text may include information on how it should be, or has been, performed. Such information should be encoded as structured text in one or more paragraphs. When descriptions of past performances include information on the cast, this can be captured in an embedded castList element. The back part of our example happens to feature a performance description:
Information relating to the performance of a drama text, be it descriptions of past performances or general directions for future ones, can be encoded in a performance element in the front or back matter of a drama text. Besides a heading and paragraphs, such performance descriptions can contain their own embedded castList elements, listing cast for cast lists relating to a particular performance.
This tutorial module has focused on the encoding of specific phenomena of drama texts in TEI. When all of the concepts discussed are applied to the example text, this is how its transcription could look:
You have reached the end of this tutorial module covering the markup of drama texts with TEI. You can now either
proceed with other TEI by Example moduleshave a look at the examples section for TEI by Example .take an interactive test. This comes in the form of a set of multiple choice questions, each providing a number of possible answers. Throughout the quiz, your score is recorded and feedback is offered about right and wrong choices. Can you score 100%? Test it here!