Stage directions have not been a central topic in English Drama Studies until recently. Their format, purpose and when they became part of the conventional language of printed plays have been traditionally associated with pre-Interregnum authors, but this article concentrates rather on the Restoration years, when a set of cultural and social circumstances boosted the printing of plays. A quantitative examination of nearly nineteen thousand stage directions from the comedies produced between 1660 and 1682 can contribute to a better understanding of the dramatic activity during this period. Their classification and analysis offer useful insights into new staging practices—technical conditions of the scenic stages plus a more than likely evolution in acting techniques—and the authors' individual preferences regarding performance and their different degree of involvement with the politics of commercial drama.

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