Date of Degree

2-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Theatre

Advisor(s)

David Savran

Committee Members

Maurya Wickstrom

Edward Miller

Subject Categories

Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Other Theatre and Performance Studies | Performance Studies | Theatre History

Keywords

professional wrestling, theatre, performance

Abstract

This dissertation pursues questions of how theatre and performance relate to and interact with contemporary politics and economies. In particular, this dissertation intervenes in theatre and performance studies to examine professional wrestling as a century-old, embodied, narrative form that spans from its local places of performance to circulate as a global theatrical product. Professional wrestling is not simply proven to be theatre in a formal sense, insofar as professional wrestling embraces many theatrical elements such as plot, character, scenic design, props, and spectacle; rather, professional wrestling is examined here as a distinct form of globalizing, commercial theatre. Whereas many studies of professional wrestling have focused on biography, history, and formal analysis, this takes up a socio-economic critique to examine professional wrestling as a neglected but exemplary case study in the global business of theatre. Indeed, I propose that the wrestling promotion WWE (formerly World Wrestling Federation) is a surprisingly underexamined, example of a publicly traded, transnational theatre company.

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