Washington City Paper Review: YOGA PLAY

YOGA PLAY by Dipika Guha. Photo: Cameron Whitman
Yoga Play Meditates on the Wellness Industrial Complex With LOL Moments

Yoga Play [written by Calcutta-born Dipika Guha and published in 2017], which makes its regional premiere at Keegan Theatre this April under the direction of Susan Marie Rhea, takes the contradiction [of the for-profit yoga and wellness industrial complex] and runs with it to hilarious extremes.

Yoga Play wastes no time immersing its audience into the corporate hellscape of Jojomon. A large mounted screen takes center stage (in a set designed by Matthew J. Keenan), and the play opens with a video call between Joan (Katie McManus), executives Fred (Jacob Yeh) and Raj (Vinay Sanapala), and company founder John (Timothy H. Lynch). The Zoom-era antics that ensue … may be low-hanging fruit, but the talented cast makes these old jokes feel new.

The show succeeds enormously in its exposition of Jojomon’s company culture, in large part due to yes-men Fred and Raj, both hysterical in their own right. … McManus captures the essence of the burned-out girlboss, while Carianmax Benitez shines as Romola, the L.A. yoga influencer of your nightmares.

In addition to laughs, Yoga Play’s latter half serves up much food for thought. The show cleverly interrogates the distinction between cultural appreciation and appropriation, and asks who can lay claim to particular cultures and identities. The juxtaposition of Raj, who was born to Indian parents but is as American as they come, and Fred, an immigrant fiending for a green card after fleeing Singapore for being gay, underscores the nuances of immigrant and first-generation identities.