I saw a very charming play tonight - Downward Facing, by Mishelle Apalategui. The title refers on the surface to "downward facing dog," the very popular yoga pose, and perhaps also alludes to the difficulty that people can have in accepting love and warmth into their lives.
The play follows 2 parallel stories, which seem at first to be connected only by theme. Courtney Blomquist is captivating as a young woman who is trying to make of go of opening a yoga studio in a "gentrifying" but still run-down neighborhood. Katharine Swan slowly grows on you as the homeless woman who seems to be permanently camped out on the steps of the yoga studio. Nick Bonges is rather dashing, indeed, as the homeless woman's hobo love interest.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, a pair of young women are meeting at a bus stop, and a rapid attraction develops between them...
Natalie Breitmeyer brings great energy and artful awkwardness to her role as the somewhat butchy Janna. Emily Tate brings a steady aura of groundedness to her role as the more femme Jenna.
And, eventually, the plots come together.
I saw this play in its earlier, 10-minute version, when it appeared at the Theatre of Women festival. I felt that version was loaded with a lot of material, so that it strained your brain a bit to follow the relationships. Now it has been given an hour or so to unfold itself, and it has taken flight like a butterfly.
I suppose Giau Truong, who directed, deserves some of the credit for that too!
Accepting love is not always easy.
When you're a cynic, you get kind of queasy
at even the thought of falling prey
to feeling in such a predictable way.