Thursday, 23 March 2017

Easy! Easy! Easy!

Mark E. Workman's Dramaturgical Aspects of Professional Wrestling Matches suggests a dynamic tension in the spectatorship of professional wrestling: the event can be interpreted either as a straight up performance - with the result predetermined - or as a sporting event, in which the outcome is open-ended. The contemporary description of wrestling as 'sports-entertainment' echoes this suggestion. Aside from presenting a possible differentiation between sport and art, Workman postulates a dynamic tension within wrestling, a parallel battle to the actual fight, between authenticity (sometime known as 'the real') and theatricality (fictionality, I suppose).

His allusion to the 'frames' of Goffman implies that the decision by the spectator to interpret the wrestling event is influenced by the circumstances in which it is presented. A couple of guys throwing down on Sauchiehall Street, for example, is revealed as authentic because it happens in a public place. The 'squared circle' of the wrestling arena, however, imposes theatricality on a pagga between Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy. 

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