Rugby v the Performing Arts
Published: March 11th, 2021 by theatretrain

Rugby v the Performing Arts

I’m a big rugby fan – especially the internationals. I think most of us go tribal from time to time. You might think rugby has nothing to do with the performing arts but I beg to differ.

 

A rugby match has a playing time of 80 minutes and a break at half time.
It’s played on a pitch by thirty players and an odd shaped ball.
There are rules so that players are agreed on what they do and cheaters are punished.
The point of it is to score as many tries as possible and to stop your opponents from doing the same.
Spectators pay to watch.

 

A performance has a time of about two hours and an interval.
It’s played by a cast of any number in a space we call theatre.
The focus of what happens bounces from one to another.
The story is agreed on and told as creatively as possible.
The point of it is to celebrate and investigate human behaviour.
The audience pays to watch.

 

“Sometimes it can be boring but when it’s good it can put you on the edge of your seat.”

The main connection is that both theatre and sport involve conflict – there are always two sides. They both have an outcome and the stakes are high for both sides. Sometimes it can be boring but when it’s good it can put you on the edge of your seat. Every time it begins it’s different because it’s happening in the here and now and can’t be repeated exactly the same.

I find them equally fascinating and apart from being a spectacle I wonder what they can give each other.

I wonder if those front row bulky forwards would make more delicate offloading passes if they had a few ballet classes and learnt 6th position. I wonder if drama classes could sharpen the thinking of the backs if we gave them the mindset of a villain who wanted to destroy everything in their path. And as for the pre match haka. A bit over the top I think with all that tongue sticking out malarkey. Perhaps fewer but more refined choir moves and a spot of 6-piece harmony would really scare the opposition!

 

And what can rugby give the performing arts? Well, it has to be the referee surely. If only people who didn’t know their lines or who didn’t focus properly got a red card and had to go to the sin bin – that would improve things for the better. The ref could even double as a critic and give us a running commentary through our headphones. Now that’s a thought.

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