Radiating authority and callous, blinkered ambition, tempered by moments of vulnerability, Katie McManus’s Joan is a highlight of the Keegan Theatre’s funny Yoga Play. Playwright Dipika Guha has written a zinging satire not just of the yoga-consumerism industrial complex, but also of the global economy’s worship of branding. And, with help from creditable supporting performances and polished design, director Susan Marie Rhea’s brisk staging showcases the script’s pointed humor.
The [events of the play] verge on screwball comedy, but along the way the Calcutta-born Guha also briefly explores, in a more serious vein, Raj’s hesitant relationship to his own heritage as a South Asian American. It’s not the only poignant touch in the play: Despite Joan’s corner-office arrogance and preposterous “aha” moments, we understand, and occasionally feel, what it has cost her to rise in a male-dominated business world.
Designer Jeremy Bennett’s pitch-perfect projections — such as gauzy footage of yoga on a mountaintop — drive home the idea of Jojomon as a company manipulating consumers’ desires and fears. (Zavier Augustus Lee Taylor is associate projections designer.) And Matthew J. Keenan’s sleek, spare office set conveys just the right trendy corporate affluence. No question: This is a place where you might interrupt an earnings call to sit in the lotus position and, mindfully, breathe.