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In/Visible Theatre goes over the top

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Feb. 27 | Modified: Mar. 3
In/Visible Theatre goes over the top

Karen Sabo has never attended a women’s arm-wrestling tournament, but she doesn’t doubt the competition would pack quite a punch.

She slowly began muscling public support for such an event when she was trying to think of a fun and unique fundraiser for a local theater company, In/Visible Theatre, for which she serves as producing director.

The idea for the female-only format for the tournament hit her when her teenage daughter landed a solid punch on her arm after spotting a Volkswagen Beetle.

“Punch bug, no punch back,” she recalled her daughter saying before landing the blow.

While the punch did sting a little, it reminded Sabo how far women — and how they are viewed by society — have come in just one generation.

“I love how girls today are different from when I was that age,” Sabo said. “When I was that age, it wasn’t acceptable to be strong and athletic. I love how it has become more acceptable for women to be seen as strong by themselves, as well as others, and still think of themselves as feminine.”

To celebrate the removal of this stigma and to raise some funds for the up-and-coming theater, the inaugural “Women’s Arm Wrestling Tournament” will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 2, at Galileo’s (1087 W. King St.) in Boone. There is a $3 to $10 sliding scale registration fee that is due at the door on the day of the contest.

Sabo is also hopeful some of her friends will take advantage of the opportunity to flex some muscle.
“I know one woman who just won the drill sergeant competition and who does bodybuilding competitions,” Sabo said, adding that women of all strengths are invited to participate.

Male spectators and friends are encouraged to come along, too, to voice their support for their favorite contestants.

“But none of this dressing up as women or coming in with a wig on,” Sabo jokingly cautioned.
The theater will split the proceeds of the event with Appalachian State University’s Women’s Theatre Troupe.

Galileo’s is located at 1087 W. King St. in downtown Boone.

About In/Visible Theatre

Sabo and husband Derek Davidson, who serves as artistic director, run the company, which they describe as a midsized regional theater.

“We have a core company of five people who are actors but also do other things, like design, director and choreography,” Sabo said. “We started in 2012. Our very first show was taken to the New York International Fringe Festival and was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal.”

The theater is planning to showcase a series of fight scenes from the works of William Shakespeare in celebration of the bard’s 450th birthday. In fact, Sabo said, part of the premise for an arm-wrestling contest ties into the theme of fighting.

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