“Sport is theatre, and through it we can see the human condition cut to the bone. Sport has pace and stillness, drama, comedy, and tragedy. It conveys more vividly than any other branch of everyday human activity the elation and despair in every person’s emotional range.”
—Sebastian Coe, Olympic gold medalist and former Member of Parliament
Theatre and sport embody an ideal of meaningful action. As players, we engage in spectacles of play, utilizing formal and complex actions governed by rules (or conventions), rituals and aesthetics, both ancient and modern. As audiences, we derive meaning through winning and losing; we construct narratives and project values onto players and play. Through conflict, competition, and collaboration, theatre and sport reflect our deepest individual and cultural identities and desires.
Participants in this program will examine the human condition “cut to the bone” and be challenged to re-conceptualize the way we experience and think about performance. We will focus on the role of imagination and the significance of competition, conflict, and collaboration. We will examine sport and theatre as a moral stage and a reflection of culture. Topics will include the history of performance, psychology of play and playing, constructions time and space, basic quantitative methods, and the intersections of aesthetics and technique. We will also consider the ways we mediate performance (through film, television, and other media) to generate excitement, meaning, and profits.
Expect to engage through readings, films, discussions, weekly writing assignments, and independent and collaborative work. Active learning in the form of workshops and field trips to sporting events and performances will be a central focus of the program.