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Yoga Play | A Note from the Artistic Director

Yoga Play | A Note from the Artistic Director

Yoga Play will be the third play by Dipika Guha to be produced by San Francisco Playhouse. The first two, The Rules and In Braunau, were world premieres in our Sandbox Series. Why are we so attracted to her voice as a playwright? It is because she has a very special lens through which she views our contemporary world. Her lens peels away pretension, artifice, falseness, political correctness, and many of our other pieces of social and personal armor that keep us from seeing the raw, throbbing heart of humanity. She exposes the frail, struggling little furry animals that we are, and loves us at our weakest.

Humans are never the villains in a play by Ms. Guha. False systems of government, economy, society, or religion, never designed to protect or nurture us but to limit and control, serve as antagonists, while the yearning people in her plays try to scratch and claw their way out of these corrupt structures. The characters may come into the world of the play burdened by false beliefs, but we can feel their spirits bucking and heaving under the load and determined to break out to breath and freedom. They want to reach up for enlightenment and peace, but lack the perspective to see what is holding them back.

Thanks to Yoga Play and our empathy gym, we have the opportunity to enter the struggle of the characters to break free of corrupt structures. We cheer them on as if to say, “open your eyes! See that what is holding you back does not actually exist but is only the construct of your mind.” And while we are rooting for them, and laughing as we recognize their foibles in ourselves, we also, thanks to our objective distance, can see how foolish some of our own ideas about happiness are. We can see what the characters often cannot: that we are actually free to unbuckle the chains that hold us back and step into the future.

Our protagonist, Joan, groomed to be the CEO of a great corporation, collapses spontaneously without understanding why. She is perfectly on track. For success. For wealth. What is wrong? But while she facilitates the corporate appropriation of mindfulness and the enlightenment movement, she is completely blind to her own truth. Others around her, wearing the Emperor’s new clothes, play the game and are sucked up in her wake. What a pleasure it is to watch the spirits inside the facades they create learn and grow and break free.

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Bill English
Bill English is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of San Francisco Playhouse, and in fifteen years with Susi Damilano, has guided its growth from a bare-bones storefront to the second-largest theater in San Francisco.

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2 Comments

Mona Onstead - 10. Apr, 2019 - Reply

I love you, Bill, and Susy,
Been coming to your wonderful theatre since climbing up those steep, stained stairs and being greeted by the salon smells.
But….we’d step through the little curtain, get a wine and a homemade cookie, and always (well, almost always) enjoy a really good play.
Mona Onstead (Fran Rushing’s friend)
I’m bringing 2 guys tomorrow night

Joan McNamara - 21. Apr, 2019 - Reply

Yoga Play was one of the best plays I’ve seen this season. The story line was wonderful and although on paper it may read as far-fetched, through direction it seemed completely realistic and appropriate given the nature of human beings. I loved the social commentary and especially the comedy infused throughout. It was a treat!