Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage examines professional wrestling as a century-old, theatrical form that spans from its local places of performance to circulate as a popular, global product. Professional wrestling has all the trappings of sport, but is, at its core, a theatrical event. This book acknowledges that professional wrestling shares many theatrical elements such as plot, character, scenic design, props, and spectacle. By assessing professional wrestling as a neglected but prototypical case study in the global business of theatre, Laine argues that it is an exemplary form of globalizing, commercial theatre. He asks what theatre scholars might learn from pro wrestling and how pro wrestling might contribute to conversations beyond the ring, by considering the laboring bodies of the wrestlers, and analyzing wrestling's form and content. Of interest to scholars and students of theatre and performance, cultural studies, and sports studies, Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage delimits the edges of wrestling's theatrical frame, critiques established understandings of corporate theatre, and offers key wrestling concepts as models for future study in other fields.
Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage examines professional wrestling as a century-old, theatrical form that spans from its local places of performance to circulate as a popular, global product. Professional wrestling has all the trappings of sport, but is, at its core, a theatrical event. This book acknowledges that professional wrestling shares many theatrical elements such as plot, character, scenic design, props, and spectacle. By assessing professional wrestling as a neglected but prototypical case study in the global business of theatre, Laine argues that it is an exemplary form of globalizing, commercial theatre. He asks what theatre scholars might learn from pro wrestling and how pro wrestling might contribute to conversations beyond the ring, by considering the laboring bodies of the wrestlers, and analyzing wrestling’s form and content. Of interest to scholars and students of theatre and performance, cultural studies, and sports studies, Professional Wrestling and the Commercial Stage delimits the edges of wrestling’s theatrical frame, critiques established understandings of corporate theatre, and offers key wrestling concepts as models for future study in other fields.
Performance and Professional Wrestling is the first edited volume to consider professional wrestling explicitly from the vantage point of theatre and performance studies. Moving beyond simply noting its performative qualities or reading it via other performance genres, this collection of essays offers a complete critical reassessment of the popular sport. Topics such as the suspension of disbelief, simulation, silence and speech, physical culture, and the performance of pain within the squared circle are explored in relation to professional wrestling, with work by both scholars and practitioners grouped into seven short sections: Audience Circulation Lucha Gender Queerness Bodies Race A significant re-reading of wrestling as a performing art, Performance and Professional Wrestling makes essential reading for scholars and students intrigued by this uniquely theatrical sport.
Sports Plays is a volume about sports in the theatre and what it means to stage sports. The chapters in this volume examine sports plays through a range of critical and theoretical approaches that highlight central concerns and questions both for sports and for theatre. The plays cut across boundaries and genres, from Broadway-style musicals to dramas to experimental and developmental work. The chapters examine and trouble the conventions of staging sports as they open possibilities for considering larger social and cultural issues and debates. This broad range of perspectives make the volume a compelling resource for students and scholars of sport, theatre, and performance studies whose interests span feminism, sexuality, politics, and race.
This book examines how circus and circus imaginary have shaped the historical avant-gardes at the beginning of the 20th century and the cultures they help constitute, to what extent this is a mutual shaping, and why this is still relevant today. This book aims to produce a better sense of the artistic work and cultural achievements that have emerged from the interplay of circus and avant-garde artists and projects, and to clarify both their transhistorical and trans-medial presence, and their scope for interdisciplinary expansion. Across 14 chapters written by leading scholars – from fields as varied as circus, theatre and performance studies, art, media studies, film and cultural history – some of which are written together with performers and circus practitioners, the book examines to what extent circus and avant-garde connections contribute to a better understanding of early 20th century artistic movements and their enduring legacy, of the history of popular entertainment, and the cultural relevance of circus arts. Circus and the Avant-Gardes elucidates how the realm of the circus as a model, or rather a blueprint for modernist experiment, innovation and (re)negotiation of bodies, has become fully integrated in our ways of perceiving avant-gardes today. The book does not only map the significance of circus/avant-garde phenomena for the past, but, through an exploration of their contemporary actualisations (in different media), also carves out their achievements, relevance, and impact, both cultural and aesthetic, on the present time.
Code-Choice and Identity Construction on Stage challenges the general assumption that language is only one of the codes employed in a theatrical performance; Sirkku Aaltonen changes the perspective to the audience, foregrounding the chosen language variety as a trigger for their reactions. Theatre is ‘the most public of arts’, closely interwoven with contemporary society, and language is a crucial tool for establishing order. In this book, Aaltonen explores the ways in which chosen languages on stage can lead to rejection or tolerance in diglossic situations, where one language is considered unequal to another. Through a selection of carefully chosen case studies, the socio-political rather than artistic motivation behind code-choice emerges. By identifying common features of these contexts and the implications of theatre in the wider world, this book sheds light on high versus low culture, the role of translation, and the significance of traditional and emerging theatrical conventions. This intriguing study encompassing Ireland, Scotland, Quebec, Finland and Egypt, cleverly employs the perspective of familiarising the foreign and is invaluable reading for those interested in theatre and performance, translation, and the connection between language and society.
Analyzing sport through the lens of performance and theorizing performance through the lens of sport, Sport and Performance in the Twenty-First Century offers a field intervention, a series of in-depth performance analyses, and an investigation of the intersection between sport performances and public life in the historical present in the global north. The objectives of this book are three-fold. First, the book advocates for the study of sport in the fields of Theatre and Performance Studies and, through in-depth performance analyses, demonstrates how the critical language and methods of performance studies help illuminate the manifold impacts of the practices, activities, and events of sport. Second, the book introduces new critical language that was originally developed in conjunction with sport but is also designed for cross-genre performance analysis. In introducing novel terminology, the book aims to simultaneously facilitate analysis of sport performances and to demonstrate how the study of sport can contribute to the fields of Theatre and Performance Studies. Finally, the book investigates the epistemological, affective, and socio-political effects of sport performances in order to illuminate how sport performances influence, and are influenced by, their historical conditions. This study will be of great interest to students and scholars in Theatre and Performance Studies, Physical Culture Studies, and Socio-Cultural Sports Studies.
The Motional Improvisation of Al Wunder takes readers on a journey through the life history, creative genealogies and unique working processes of one of the master teachers of Euro-American postmodern movement-based improvisational performance who has, until now, received scant critical attention. The book offers a long overdue examination of the significant impact made by an important figure on grassroots movement-based improvisational performance in 1960s/1970s America and in Australia from the 1980s onwards. It revisits the work of groundbreaking New York choreographer Alwin Nikolais, with whom Wunder trained and for whom he later taught in the 1960s; covers collaborations with founders of ‘Action Theater’ Ruth Zaporah and ‘Motivity Aerial Dance’ Terry Sendgraff as part of the explosion of improvisation in San Francisco in the 1970s and tracks the consolidation of a unique pedagogy that would see hundreds of students learn how to map their performative creativity in Melbourne from the 1980s onwards. It conducts a fascinating investigation into the wellsprings of Wunder’s approach to improvised performance as an end in itself, covering teaching innovations such as his use of the Hum Drum, positive feedback, personal power sources and articulators. It includes valuable contributions from a number of ex-students and established Australian artists in dance, music and visual art who share the profound impact Wunder has made on their creative practices. This book will be a valuable resource to movement/dance improvisation students and teachers at undergraduate and postgraduate level and independent artists drawn to movement improvisation as performance.
Written with media students in mind, this accessible book provides both students and researchers with a new perspective on how to research engagement, not as a metric but as a marker of power relations. This book navigates the reader through a tighter analytical notion of engagement within an understanding of media, culture and democracy. Dahlgren and Hill offer a new definition of engagement as an energising internal force, and as such a powerful means to further human agency. From this definition, the book builds a generative theory of engagement as a nexus of relations we make and break with media on a daily basis, with examples from political activism, news and disinformation, and the global pandemic. Dahlgren and Hill identify five parameters of engagement in order to understand the relations we have with media across changing public and mediated spheres. This new perspective offers students and researchers pathways for investigating the meaning of media engagement as a resource for living. It will be particularly useful for undergraduate courses on media audiences and publics, political communication and democracy, media and cultural theory, journalism, and for media, communication and sociology studies more broadly.
A Cruel Theatre of Self-Immolations investigates contemporary protest self-burnings and their echoes across culture. The book provides a conceptual frame for the phenomenon and an annotated, comprehensive timeline of suicide protests by fire, supplemented with notes on artworks inspired by or devoted to individual cases. The core of the publication consists of six case studies of these ultimate acts, augmented with analyses and interpretations hailing from the visual arts, film, theatre, architecture, and literature. By examining responses to these events within an interdisciplinary frame, Ziółkowski highlights the phenomenon’s global reach and creates a broad, yet in-depth, exploration of the problems that most often prompt these self-burnings, such as religious discrimination and harassment, war and its horrors, the brutality and indoctrination of authoritarian regimes and the apathy they produce, as well as the exploitation of the so-called "subalterns" and their exclusion from mainstream economic systems. Of interest to scholars from an array of fields, from theatre and performance, to visual art, to religion and politics, A Cruel Theatre of Self-Immolations offers a unique look at voluntary, demonstrative, and radical performances of shock and subversion.
In Staging and Re- cycling , John Keefe and Knut Ove Arntzen re-visit and reappraise a selection of their work to explore how the retrieval, re-approaching and re-framing of material can offer pathways for new work and new thinking. The book includes a collection of reprinted and first-published (although previously presented) textual material interspersed with editorial material – reflective essays from John and Knut on these pieces from the archives and original essays from invited scholars that explore the theme of repetition and re-cycling. The project has a number of aims: to suggest how the status of ‘new’ with regard to academic and staged dramaturgical materials may be reframed; to re-examine these through certain lenses and concepts (re-cycling; re-working; the spectator; landscape, post- and other dramaturgies); to explore the possibilities of critique offered by particular modes of juxtaposition, dialogue and dialectic; to offer further provocations to received ideas; and to retrieve and re-approach material, once published or presented, that becomes ‘lost’ in archives or on library shelves. As shown here, the role of the hyphen acts as an indicator to the status of ‘re-’ in relation to the ‘new’. Written for scholars and academics, researchers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and practitioners working in all forms for theatre and performance, Staging and Re-cycling suggests a new form of dialogue between work, authors and readers, and draws out threads that extend back into the past and potentially forward into the future.