A Girl Has No Gym
Created and performed by Anita Majumdar
In this new physical theatre project, Anita Majumdar invites the audience into her relationship with the many exercise videos that have become entwined with the major events of her life.
Anita has used various regimens over the years to stay healthy and train for her work as an actor and dancer. As she started to look back over the video routines she’s used – including Insanity and P90X – she started to match them with key moments in her past, and this new work of theatre was born. A serious yet comic survey of the bridge between our lives, our bodies and our emotional landscape, Anita’s latest work is highly physical and, appropriately, deeply moving.
Dramaturgy and process
Studio sessions in 2019 during which Anita and her collaborators worked out with various exercise videos generated further writing sessions for Anita, who continued the work solo as she went back through her video collection to reengage with past exercise regimes. When the arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 prevented us from all working together in the studio, Anita began exploring pandemic-required isolation as the container for the piece. Lockdowns were a challenge that necessitated working out at home in new ways, which forced Anita – and everyone – into new relationships with exercise, health and personal reflection.
In 2022, Anita was able to return to the studio to develop a new version of the text alongside choreographic and design elements. These sessions reinforced the integral role of movement and exercise in the show, not just as subject matter but as the medium through which Anita tells her story. This work will continue in 2023 as we develop the script, performance and design alongside one another.
Millions of people are addicted to these routines on old VHS cassettes and CDs, and today’s online classes and YouTube videos. They become one of the soundtracks to our lives, offering intimate relationships to the exercise instructors, daily interactions with routines that help us get fit, lose weight, shape our day and, ideally, lift our spirits. Anita has found a beautiful way to examine our hearts and minds.
Workshop participants include Brian Quirt (dramaturg), Gloria Mok, Nathaniel Hanula-James, Brittany Ryan, Olivia Shortt and Myekah Payne.