THE CAST: Lorena Martinez, Dileep Rao, Nike Doukas, Tim Chiou and Jeff Marlow.
Five actors bring out the funny in the world premiere of Dipika Guha’s Yoga Play (April 19-30, Nicholas Studio). The cast is a mix of new and returning faces—including All the Way’s Lady Bird Johnson in a very different role. And, outside of the play, all of them do some form of yoga.
NAME: Tim Chiou
Yoga Play Role: Fred (“He’s Joan’s assistant. Smart, energetic and loyal. Deep down, he's still just an eager child.”)
Stage: tokyo fish story; The North China Lover; Snow Falling on Cedars. “
TV & Film: “iZombie,” “2 Broke Girls,” Silicon Valley.”
First play I was in: You Can't Take It With You at Geffen Playhouse—12 years ago, with our very own Yoga Play’s Jeff Marlow! I was G-Man #2. But I think my very first play was Fame, during my sophomore year in high school.
Yoga Play drew me in because: Even though it was hilarious, when I read the play, I didn't laugh as much as I expected to. Instead, I found myself directly connecting with each character's need to find meaning and happiness in their lives. I, too, tend to derive those things from work and I think that in some way, by doing this play, I would personally go through a similar journey and find some sort of peace. I was sort of hoping that the revelations for the characters in Yoga Play would somehow translate into revelations for myself. We'll see if that happens.
My idea of perfect happiness: I have this saying: “Live your life as if every day is work and every day is vacation.” It can still be pretty hard to achieve, but when you're working on a project with some amazing people, people that you care about, and it doesn't even feel like work because everyone wholeheartedly believes in what they are doing—THAT's perfect.
Lotus pose or plank pose? Plank pose. Is it sad that I can do plank pose for far longer than I can do lotus pose? But then I guess in accordance to yoga, that means I should be doing a lot more lotus pose.
Yoga pants or sweat pants? Sweat pants. I generally feel less guilty drinking a beer when I'm in sweat pants.
NAME: Nike Doukas
Yoga Play Role: Joan (“She’s about as uptight a CEO as you can imagine, but for very good reasons.”)
Previous SCR Appearances: All the Way (Ladybird Johnson); The Prince of Atlantis; The Happy Ones; Dead Man’s Cell Phone; Blithe Spirit; and others.
Stage: Fallen Angles; Hedda Gabler; Three Days in the Country.
TV & Film: “Desperate Housewives.”
First play I saw: My oldest sister, Thalia, in a high school production of The Importance of Being Earnest. I remember very little about the specifics (I was probably about six), but I do remember feeling thrilled by my sister and the experience as a whole. My parents took us to a lot of theatre.
First play I was in: Well, I can remember every play I was in since first grade, when I played Angel Ten in Ten Little Angels. The first real, full-length play was The Sound of Music, in fifth grade. I played Gretl, the youngest Von Trapp child.
Yoga Play drew me in because: I love that it examines modern life, but without cynicism. It is a joyous examination of the insanity of our times.
My idea of perfect happiness: A cup of tea, The New York Times and the sunny window seat in my kitchen. Or 40 minutes in the lap pool. Or, getting on a plane with my husband. Or....
Lotus pose or plank pose? Plank.
Yoga pants or sweat pants? Sweats.
NAME: Jeff Marlow
Yoga Play Role: Bernard Brown
Previous SCR Appearances: All the Way (Governor George Wallace and others); Hamlet; Nothing Sacred.
Stage: Glengarry Glen Ross; Sideways; You Can’t Take It With You; Around the World in 80 Days; The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll; The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised).
TV & Film: “Silicon Valley;” “Heartbeat;” “NCIS;” “Rake;” “Grey’s Anatomy;” Stevie D; Akeelah and the Bee.
First play I saw: Kenneth Branagh in Henry V at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. I don’t remember (and didn’t understand) much about the play, but I do remember the Saint Crispin’s Day speech, the armor, the fog, the battles—it was an amazing way to be introduced to theatre!
First play I was in: I played the Bear in Benny and the Bear at the British School of Brussels. I’ve never been better.
Yoga Play drew me in because: Broad farce like this doesn’t get written much—it’s very hard to do. Plus, the script is really, really wonderful and has great depth and heart.
My idea of perfect happiness: Working on an exciting new play or traveling with my wife. Or both.
Lotus pose or plank pose? Lotus pose, until my foot falls asleep, which doesn’t take long.
Yoga pants or sweat pants? Gym shorts.
NAME: Lorena Martinez
Yoga Play Role: Romola
Stage: Up Here; Mr. Burns; Spelling Bee; Anchor Babies.
Film: Hotel Pennsylvania; Landing in Mumbai.
First play I saw: Phantom of the Opera. I had an Andrew Lloyd Webber concert on DVD and became pretty obsessed with it. I finally convinced my parents to take me to New York for the first time and we saw three shows in three days: Phantom, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Very original.
First play I was in: Hairspray! So fun—though I did not know what I was doing.
Yoga Play drew me in because: It's about finding happiness and fulfillment and it's absolutely hilarious. The first time I read it (and many times after that), I laughed out loud and, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy reader, that is a rare thing for me. I believe that conveying a message while at the same time making people laugh is the most effective way to touch people—and maybe help out a bit in that quest for happiness.
My character in Yoga Play: Romola is a woman who REALLY needs yoga to feel sane and good about herself, she really loves the effects of yoga on her body and she feels pretty proud to work with her favorite celebrities. Even if she has some underlying issues to address, she gets to hang out and drink green juice with the Kardashians!
My idea of perfect happiness: I would say a combination of authentic love, peace of mind and a sense of excitement/adventure. And nature... lots of beautiful nature time.
Lotus pose or plank pose? Lotus to chill, plank to get sexy for summer.
Yoga pants or sweat pants? Yoga pants, all day.
NAME: Dileep Rao
Yoga Play Role: Raj (“He’s a corporate chieftain who knows a lot and very little.”)
Previous SCR Appearances: Making It.
Stage: Indian Ink; Fetes de la Nuit; Perfect Wedding; Tales of the Allergist’s Wife; Shiv.
TV & Film: “Brothers & Sisters;” “Touch;” “Z Nation;” Avatar; Drag Me to Hell; Inception; Beeba Boys.
First play I saw: A play about Albert Einstein at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. I found the magic of the actors' transformation stunning—the great effect of light and space.
First play I was in: A piece I helped write about Isaac Newton. Science was a big theme for me in my youth. And it still is.
Yoga Play drew me in with: Its very modern feel of the comedy, reality and pain about culture, race and human frailty.
My idea of perfect happiness: Life without threat, freedom from want, kindness, surrounded by love and the grace of forgiveness.
Lotus pose or plank pose? Lotus.
Yoga pants or sweat pants? Sweat. Yoga pants are selling out.
Learn more about Yoga Play and buy tickets.