Theater Review: YOGA PLAY (Moxie Theatre Company in San Diego)

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by Milo Shapiro on May 20, 2019

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional


Which of the following defines yoga to you?

  1. A series of gentle exercises meant to relax and invigorate the body;
  2. A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline using breath control and meditation;
  3. An 83 billion-dollar international industry of mats, equipment, clothing, and accessories.

All three are true, but for Joan (Jo Anne Glover), marketing director of a yoga merchandise conglomerate, it’s about 1% for the first two and 98% for the third. Joan — who is all about the numbers, research, and new markets — hasn’t taken a deep breath since the Clinton administration. If she could be selling more in the world of cars, cookware, or cattle, she’d be there instead. Her life in sales just happened to take her to yoga. Unfortunately for her, she is surrounded by people — especially a CEO — who value yoga as a way of life. While she begrudgingly will fake a deep breath with them now and then, their spiritual mindset only comes between her and goal figures.

While the CEO is on a month’s reclusive retreat, leaving Joan in charge, the company hits a PR nightmare and Joan must save the public image to their “family” (the company’s new-age term for their customers). She and her two assistants — Singapore-born Fred (Albert Park) and American-born Raj (Sri Chilukuri) of East Indian descent — must quickly find a far-reaching panacea to save the company. The solution must appeal to all of their yoga clientele, from the religious followers to the high-spending socialites. The decision is to find a true stereotypical hilltop guru to address the issues, solidifying the notion that the apparel giant Jojomon is trustable. But when the guru (Matthew Salazar-Thompson) turns out to be not quite what they expect, everyone is left scrambling, both business-wise and spiritually.

The results in Act II are hilarious, a solid payoff for a lot of set-up in Act I. Under Callie Prendiville’s direction, much of the fun beyond the script is in the quiet moments and fantastic facial expressions. Tamara Rodriguez is terrific in multiple roles, especially as Romola, L.A.’s yoga tutor for the Hollywood elite (think Sofía Vergara as a yoga teacher).

Dipika Guha’s script is certainly comical, but it also has deeper context as the three main characters face their own spiritual crises. From the pain of coming out, to what it means to reject the culture into which you were born, to the corporate greed involved in making a buck on people’s hunt for authenticity, this play laughs its way through many deep and painful subjects. It isn’t a stretch to say that Yoga Play is a hit.

photos by Daren Scott

Yoga Play
Moxie Theatre
6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suite N in San Diego
Thurs at 7:30; Fri & Sat at 8; Sun at 2
ends on June 2, 2019
for tickets, call 858-598-7620 or visit Moxie Theatre

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