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Pressure Point Collective presents: GOD-BELLY

Nuns will wrestle: Rosie Tapsell (Left) and Andrew Gunn (Right) rehearse GOD-BELLY

Local Play Asks New Questions About Anorexia

Pressure Point Collective presents: G O D – B E L L Y

Holy anorexics, bodybuilding, a saint having an erotic religious experience... GOD-BELLY is an exploration of the way religion has shaped our relationships to our bodies. See what happens when a couple navigates this knotted terrain through rap, riddles and wrestling.

Listings Information:
Venue: Check fringe website for details
Season: February 15th, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd
Time: Doors open 8pm, performance begins 8.30pm
Bookings: contact, koha entry


It’s the mid-14th Century, Italy : a young Dominican nun starves her body to perfect her soul.

It’s 21st Century, Auckland : a sixteen year-old high school student starves herself to win at something, to keep her mind off the future – according to her psychiatrist.

Both try to overrule their biology. What brings them to do so?

GOD-BELLY uses religious history to explore our relationships with our bodies; be this the desire to discipline, to bulk up, or to starve the body. The show questions what is truly creating these motivations. Christianity is so often blamed for creating a repressive attitude towards the body, but could a very similar ‘religious’ psychology be found throughout the secular world as well? The salvation of the gym, the idols of the catwalk, and the wonders of photoshop will all come under close scrutiny.

Nun ahead of the times: Rosie Tapsell as St. Catherine

In asking these questions, GOD-BELLY invites its audience to reconsider the narrow ways we often look at religion. The two-person cast flows through a variety of different characters, ricocheting between different points in history, across different countries. It marries the austerity of medieval Christianity with the fierce playfulness of contemporary hip-hop. Monks will rap, nuns will wrestle and an argument will break out over a Wendy’s chicken combo.

The play hinges on Catherine, a nun ahead of the times, looking for personal answers about God beyond what the Church is allowing her. Suspected as a heretic, and by others a witch, she is being closely watched over for both the safety of the church and, when her appetite starts to disappear, for her own physical safety.

Anorexia is on the rise in New Zealand, but remains a somewhat taboo subject in conversation, as in most countries. Co-artistic director and cast member Rosie Tapsell explains; “Having recovered from an eating disorder and being distanced from it now, I feel that a lot of the time it’s addressed with a great deal of preciousness, or confusion…. So with this show I’m wanting to bring humour to the subject matter...and to question stale assessments of it.”

Pressure Point Collective is a new theatre company that aims to “open up discussion within its audience. We believe that the state of mind and willingness to talk that an audience leaves with is as important as the content itself.” (Co-artistic director and cast member Andrew Gunn)

Hence, to make its audience feel welcome, the show will be held in a student flat. The audience is invited to take tea with the cast before the show commences.


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