Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dramaturgy of a Personal Trainer: Kate Kopajtic @ Edfringe 2017

What was the inspiration for this performance?

My survival job as a luxury personal trainer and the many interactions I have had with my clients. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Absolutely. I don't think I know anyone who, in
the last five years especially, has not been touched by the fitness industry in some way. There is a lot to unpack. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I wanted to create an opportunity for myself when there were none. I have a BFA in Acting, I moved to New York as soon as I graduated and I worked for free as an intern to multiple theatre companies, supporting my lifestyle by checking pool chemicals and lifeguarding at a gym in upscale Manhattan (Equinox). Working as a theatre intern helped me to meet good people in the theatre community but it never led to any big roles or acting opportunities. I finally broke that pattern by stepping up to water aerobics instructor and then trainer, writing about that transition, being patient and expecting little. 

I stopped agonizing over the cool plays that I thought I would be great in and shifted my energy into cobbling together this show about my job. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Not really. I still work for Equinox, so I'll always have some new tidbit about a client, or something that happened at the gym, that will want to sneak into the story somehow. 

My approach is to embrace those changes and keep the show fresh. The downside about continuing at Equinox as I perform about it is that it can feel claustrophobic to have my unpaid creative time be about my survival job. The key to making it interesting is noticing the areas that feel stale and then shake them up so they're fun again. If I'm having fun, you are having fun. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is the first solo show I've done, so we'll see. Last year I made a 25 minute short film "The Actor" which makes fun of pay-to-play casting director workshops that actors have to endure in order to get seen. "The Actor" and "Confessions of a Personal Trainer" are similar in that they make fun of two major industries from an insider's perspective. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope the audience will experience the stories of the 7+ characters I impersonate along with my own story. I'm hoping everyone will leave feeling a bit more enlightened about their bodies, and a bit more released from the pressures of fitness in the media. For the artists who attend, I hope they leave feeling better about their survival job, and maybe even inspired to make something out of the other hats they wear. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
When I go to a party, ten times out of ten I will be asked for my opinion on someone's health and fitness routine. This show is like a party. There will be opportunities to ask me questions, and I will talk directly to people. I want the audience to feel like I'm giving them a long, exciting and well crafted answer. 

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