Leigh Fitzjames' LOVE AND LIGHT to Play Touch Art & Craft Gallery, 6/1-2
When actress Leigh Fitzjames talks abouT Loving yoga, she really means it. Her new one-woman play, 'Love and Light' that will be performed at the Touch Art & Craft Gallery in Cambridge on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday June 2nd at 7:00 p.m. details the story of Celine who has had a (fictional) one-night-stand with her guru Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the widely-followed hot yoga technique.
Transformed by the experience, Celine decides to incubate herself in her apartment "torture chamber" for 90 days and uses yoga as a crutch for dealing with her heartbreak. An absurdist, physical comedy that addresses spiritual materialism and yoga gone wrong, the play is also Fitzjames's own love letter to yogis that she hopes will dispel some stereotypes along the way.
"I want to show that real yogis are not these stereotypical bendy vegan bimbos, which is how they have been portrayed in mainstream media. People practice yoga to do more than stretch -disciplining themselves to be more loving and to cultivate bigger change - but many get confused and do very silly things trying to prove that. I mean, here's me touring to new cities in a loin cloth!"
Throughout the 50-minute play, Fitzjames portrays various characters, sings and also integrates the 26 postures of Bikram yoga. Fitzjames, who is originally from New Zealand, has performed 'Love and Light' in New York City and also in Montreal and also has dates booked in Austin and San Francisco.
'Love and Light' has been well-received by her fellow yogis, many of whom have taken particular delight in how she has integrated Bikram yoga text into the language of the play: "'Bend me over like a Japanese ham sandwich, Bikram!' - that's a popular line. Bikram teachers instruct their students to look like Japanese ham sandwiches while they're bent over touching their toes... huh?! You don't even have to be a yogi to find that funny! Now imagine if it were sexy."
In Boston, she will work with rehearsal director Vahdat Yeganeh, Artistic Director of Boston Experimental Theatre who has also worked with the University of Massachusetts, Boston, the American Repertory Theater, Nora Theatre, Underground Railway Theatre and the Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company.
"I want yogis and non-yogis alike to explore what it's like to take this practice to the extreme and how important it is to be your own teacher. You go to a class in a popular studio and it will be full of people who can keep each other in check. But what happens when students are alone and off the rubber mat?"
Tickets for 'Love & Light' are $10 (yoga teachers/students) and $15 (general admission) and are available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/378640.
Leigh Fitzjames moved to New York from New Zealand in June 2012 to attend The Neighborhood Playhouse that specializes in the Meisner acting technique. A graduate of the University of Auckland and a seasoned jazz singer (J&L Jazz) and spoken word poet (Rising Voices, The Literatti), she is perhaps best known in New Zealand for her bikini-clad role as Yvette in Miss Saigon (Civic Theatre) or for having portrayed herself in The Girl's Show (Massive Company). In the US she has recently appeared in The Shelter Theatre Company's production of The Soarward Holiday Party, Season 25 of The Actor's Project and has the leading role in upcoming web series Con Artistes. The yoga is constant in her life and she studies with teachers internationally. www.leighfitzjames.com
Bikram yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury and is a form of "hot yoga" that is practiced in a series of 26 yoga postures devised by Choudhury from the hatha yoga tradition. Bikram Yoga is conducted in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Photo of Leigh Fitzjames by Jocelyn Janon.