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Page 177

Stage Directions

The stage directions are more enigmatic. Not only are added and changed stage directions no commoner in corrected areas than elsewhere, they actually occur in corrected areas noticeably less frequently than we should expect if they were randomly distributed. Only 34% of added and changed directions are found in corrected areas, suggesting the inverse of the expected relationship. The number of directions involved is too large for this proportion to be dismissed as insignificant. And the situation is not meaningfully alleviated by assuming that the more trivial changes were introduced by compositors. Even if we exclude another possibly untrustworthy group, the scene-break directions, we are left with a similar situation for the remaining minority of mid-scene directions. It is in their interaction with Table 2 that the added and changed directions can usefully be divided into two groups. In the first 1000 lines, 63% of them occur in corrected areas; this distribution is almost certainly random, as the area has a greater than average amount of correction. But only 20% of the altered directions in the rest of the text occur in corrected areas. Even though corrected areas account for only 36% of this second half of the play, this dissociation—only 1 altered direction in 5 occurring in an area which shows signs of corrections to dialogue—is unlikely to be random.