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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

The "Dudley Boyz" stand in the middle of the ring, their muscles throbbing, sweat beading on their hulking foreheads. Their opponent lays in the center of the ring, crumpled by their brute strength. In spite of the rules, the brothers scream out once again "get the tables." The crowd explodes, chanting and reeling at their favorite wrestlers, ready to smash another victim with the cold, hard wood and metal. Though they've seen the boys break these rules many times before, the thrill never ceases. Wrestling is characterized by its scripted fights, use of ridiculous props (ranging from tennis rackets to barbed wire), and, most of all, its crowd participation. A notable match is between "Invisible Man" and "Invisible Stan" in which an entire audience watched a referee flop around the ring, shouting as he announced calls for people that did not exist. Here, metatheatricality is born as the lines between what is real and play are blurred, and as the audience volunteers so much trust within the script that they themselves create the play through a self awareness that is present not only in their attitudes, but the attitudes of the performers they're watching. This essay investigates not only wrestling as metatheatre, but the culture that sustains it.

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