Meyers, A. R. (2022). To Play or Not to Play: An Exploration of the Connection between Athleticism, Entertainment Culture, and Elevated Performance. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2553
Through various forms of media, social conventions, gender stereotypes, and battles for funding and resources, sports and theater have been posed as cultural opposites. Rivals for the time and and energy of students, opposing ends of the traditionally masculine and feminine spectrum, the worlds of athletics and sports have long become cemented in cultural consciousness as incompatible. The aim of this paper is to dispel that notion, to position sports and theater, and more specifically the athlete and the actor as one and the same, and further, to assert that training in one actually enhances performance in the other. There is a vast world of untapped potential growth in performance quality and outcomes for both athletes and actors that could be realized through the unification and integration of sports and theater training. Not only would the viewing and entertainment experience of the audience be enhanced, but the performing experiences of the players would benefit from this dual thinking as well. As someone who has participated in high-commitment level arts and athletics my whole life, I was inspired to interrogate this divide and use my own personal experiences, firsthand interviews with others, scholarly research, and a solo performance piece to do so. This research brought on revelations on the nature of play, the identity of the player, and discoveries in the realm of technique and performance that are unique and have the potential to greatly enhance the realm of play and performance for both worlds.