by Elfriede Jelinek
Translated by Penny Black
with translation assistance by Karen Jürs-Munby
Directed by Vanda Butkovic
Designed by Simon Donger
English language premiere
July/August 2012 (UK tour, London), revived in 2013/2014 season (London and international tour)
Available for national and international touring in 2015 and 2016
Revival of Sports Play is sponsored by Kipferl Austrian Cafe and Kitchen and Stiegl. Tour to Macedonia was supported by Austrian Embassy in Macedonia and European Cultural Foundation through mobility programme Step Beyond. Algerian tour was supported by Austrian Embassy in Algeria and European Cultural Foundation.
Coinciding with the London 2012 Olympics, Just a Must, in partnership with the Austrian Cultural Forum London and five UK venues, staged the English language premiere of Sports Play by Nobel Prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek.
In this text, 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. Blurring the boundaries between theatre and sports, this performance turns Jelinek's linguistic gymnastics into an Olympic feat for the actors and audiences alike.
Elfriede Jelinek (b. 20/10/1946) is an Austrian writer. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 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’. Ein Sportstück (Sports Play) premiered at the Burgtheater, Vienna in 1998.
" ...the production has managed to pull off that mainland European, postdramatic, post-Brechtian aesthetic so well, despite many of the actors being British... a success in British theatrical terms....This is an acutely intelligent rendering of an important bit of literature." Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods