Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Six-Hour Drama Marathon, Anyone?

Sport, eh? Most bookish types will agree it's a bit crap, or at least the participatory bit. Stops you thinking weighty thoughts, what with concentrating on getting a small round object into a hole or whatever. Usually involves a little too much physical exertion. And I'm sure I'm not the only bookish type for whom the best thing about school Physical Education lessons was thinking up creative excuses for not taking part.*

Top enraged Austrian writer, Nobel laureate and playwright Elfriede Jelinek, however, gives us a number of other reasons not to like it, which are summed up in her six-hour play Sport. To wit:
Jelinek explores the marketing and sale of human bodies and emotions in sports with angry wit, questioning our obsession with fitness, body image and high performance at any cost. Sport is seen as a medium for fanaticism, as a form of war in peacetime.
And what better time to stage the play, in Penny Black's translation, than during the London Olympics? A two-finger salute to all that "our GDP is bigger than your GDP" medal-grabbing and competitive Union Jack displaying. So catch it this coming Sunday in a staged reading at the Soho Theatre - you can stroll in and out as you please during the six hours, but do watch out for the 200 kilos of toy stuffing. Team GB merchandise will not be on sale in the foyer.

Should you be too far away to attend, the very good German lit blog Litaffin has a useful list of books to read that feature sport.

*My sister came up with the frankly fantastic "I've got a shard of broken glass in the sole of my foot" and managed to evade at least two sessions in the school gym, where we had to go barefoot, until the PE teacher Mr. O'Sadist began to get suspicious. I was also - literally - scarred for life when I ran into my friend's raised hockey stick. I still have a dimple in my left cheek from that incident, but rather stupidly took Mrs. Humourless-Brisk's advice to get straight back in the saddle and onto the playing field.

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