How do the pleasures of the theatre spectator compare with those of the sports fan? In Break Up (We Need to Talk), an improvised durational performance that creates and disintegrates a romantic relationship before our eyes, Binge Culture Collective adopts some of the fundamental conventions of games and sports to generate the unpredictability and excitement that characterizes high-stakes sporting events. The performers, like athletes, follow a set of rules that create tension between collaboration and competition, and create a framework which endows significance upon the actions that take place within it. As in sports, the rules, though unspoken, are overt – there is no attempt to hide them beneath a veneer of realism. Rather, we are invited to enjoy the vicarious thrills of performers struggling with and against each other – and against the clock, which demands that they take six hours to build up to the final action suggested by the title. As the rules gradually cause the performers succumb to the physical and mental exhaustion, the level of uncertainty and unpredictability rises – as does the audience’s excitement.


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pp. 30-36
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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