SPORTS PLAY, an unflinching exploration of the close relationship between sports, nationalism and violence by the Nobel Prize winning author of The Piano Teacher, Elfriede Jelinek, received its English Language premiere on the eve of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Lancaster. The production has since toured the UK and finishes in London for a run tonight, July 30 to August 4 at the Chelsea Theatre.
Blurring the boundaries between a theatre event and a sports event, punctuated by live reporting of results from the Olympics and elsewhere, actors perform feats of linguistic gymnastics, their capacity to memorise and articulate non-naturalistic, punning and unpredictable lines stretched to the limits.
Premiering in 1998 in Vienna’s Burgtheater as Ein Sportstück, the play received a 55 minute standing ovation. The production began a new vogue for choric works in German language theatre, and Just a Must’s staging emerges from the performers’ improvisation with the text, which treats the text as a musical score. The postdramatic play explores pertinent themes of the commodification of the human body through sport, and gender relations in the sporting world.
Elfriede Jelinek (born October 20, 1946) is an Austrian playwright and novelist. She was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2004 for her "musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power." Her best known work, The Piano Teacher, was adapted into the film by Michael Haneke in 2001. Past work also includes We are Decoys, Baby!; Women as Lovers and The Children of the Dead.
The production is the principle showcase of Austrian culture coinciding with the Olympics, and is supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum London, the organization that promotes cultural contacts between the UK and Austria by organizing events and supporting artists and projects in the fields of music, performing arts, visual arts, literature, film and science.
Just a Must company was founded by producer Berislav Juraic and director Vanda Butkovic in 2009 to promote intercultural and cross-disciplinary cooperation in the British performing arts arena, and to introduce to a UK audience contemporary and innovative European works. In particular, the company’s work focuses on post-dramatic theatre, contemporary dance and circus. Past productions include Woman Bomb at the Tristan Bates Theatre (2011) and El-Harrag in Algeria, Croatia and Middle East (2009-10).
For more information about the company, visit www.justamust.com
30 July – 4 August 7:30pm
020 7352 1967