Guest   Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:01 am GMT
The dictionary links the verbs "stage" and "direct" as synonyms. Is there really no difference in saying that I directed a play and that I staged a play?
RayH   Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:01 pm GMT
An interesting question. In the example you give the director could make either statement. I would say, however, that there is often a subtle difference.

Stage--this would typically (but not exclusively) be used to describe the entire effort (actors, director, theater, production company, etc.) rather than to describe just the work done by the director. Some examples from the Web:

(1) The Guthrie [management] announced Wednesday that the theater will stage two more Kushner works in a landmark series set for the spring of 2009.
(2) Connecticut Opera Stages Powerful Production Of 'Tosca'.

Direct--this is more often used to refer to the work done by the individual person (the director) who is in charge of the overall effort (hiring actors, rehearsals, hiring the various designers for costuming, scenery, makeup, etc., etc.)

Although, as the following demonstrates, "stage" can be used to refer to the work the director does:
(1) Bartlett Sher [the director] will stage the New York City premiere of Prayer for My Enemy by Pulitzer Prize nominee Craig Lucas.

Bottom line? Like I said an interesting question.

On further reflection it would seem that the management of a theater would never say that the theater is directing a play but a director can say (or it can be said of him) that he is staging a play.