Stage directions have long been used to “prove” one theory or another concerning the staging of plays in Shakespearean playhouses. With the remarkable increase in works on Shakespeare in performance that have paralleled the opening of the Globe reconstruction in London, it was inevitable that the examination of these intriguing indicators would increase. A Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama 1580–1642 presents us with the raw materials that will make the process of researching stage directions infinitely easier for all scholars. The down side of this is that it is going to be a lot harder to “overlook” evidence that does not fit the theories we want to propose. Starting with The Three Ladies of London by Robert Wilson, a play written in 1581, despite the dictionary's claim of 1580, the authors read through some 500 plays known or at least likely to be “linked to the London professional theatres” up to their closing in 1642. (A complete list is provided on pp. 267–284. Some of these plays were published as late as 1661 but were included if it seemed to the authors that they were “certainly written earlier.”) From this Herculean effort, Thompson compiled a database of over 22,000 stage directions and, using criteria largely developed by Alan Dessen in Recovering Shakespeare's Theatrical Vocabulary (1995), they put together this dictionary of over 900 terms. Each word is defined by its usage and cross referenced. When we look at “pen,” for example, we do not get a definition of what a pen is, we get “a property almost always called for with ink and/or paper.” This is followed by representative quotations from the plays OED-style, though the authors “have not attempted to trace the evolution of the terms” because, surprisingly, “for the bulk of the period up through the 1630's, . . . continuity rather than evolution appears to be the norm.” The quotations are extensive but not exhaustive. When there are several hundred examples of the usage of an entry like “run, running” (260 examples), only a representative sampling is provided. If there are only a limited number of examples for a term, all are listed. In both cases the examples are provided in “roughly” chronological order. A special entry for “permissive stage directions” list all those entries that “leave key entries indeterminate” as with “They fight a good while and then breath” from Orlando Furioso.