Emelia Symington Fedy leads a class in The Chop Theatre / Boca del Lupo production of Through the Gaze of a Navel.
Emelia Symington Fedy leads a yoga class in Through the Gaze of a Navel.

First seen as part of Boca Del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series in 2014, the yoga satire Through the Gaze of a Navel is making the move from the theatre and into the yoga studio.

“It’s very exciting to me that the yoga world is embracing the show,” says co-creator and performer Emelia Symington Fedy. “We first did the show in a Toronto yoga studio and it is such a different experience than seeing it in the theatre.”

The big difference between how the show was originally presented and its current form is in helping the yoga audience immediately realize that what they are witnessing is satire.

“Now it’s really clear that I’m making fun of myself,” she says. “I bless them with my sacred water, and I take it over the top to clown land. Everyone calms down and gets it right away. It softens everyone up and helps everyone to realize that they are in a safe environment. They know the joke is not on them, and then I have them on my side. As I start to make fun of myself they start to look at themselves.”

From there, Symington Fedy slowly starts to peel back the layers, making fun of her own spiritual quest that has been a big part of her life.

“I spent $70,000 on well, crazy stupid shit,” she confesses. “It is ridiculous what we do to try to heal and maybe we’re not broken after all. Life is painful, maybe we shouldn’t be trying to fix it.”

While Symington Fedy may question the efficacy of some of the therapies that she has tried, there is still an underlying respect that makes Through the Gaze of a Navel work so well. It isn’t about judgement, but in realizing that perhaps our search for enlightenment is not all it is cracked up to be.

“I don’t feel like I’m put on earth to talk about the light, I’m here to talk about the dark, by looking at all the ways we try to heal and escape pain – yoga, meditation, eating, marijuana, going to a psychic – all the ways we try to escape being uncomfortable and avoid grief,” she says.

But don’t let any talk of the dark side fool you into thinking that Through the Gaze of a Navel is a serious contemplation of our unending search for happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth, as Through the Gaze of a Navel manages to find a near perfect satirical balance of genuine respect and gentle derision.

Through the Gaze of a Navel plays One Yoga For the People (201-150 W Hastings St, Vancouver) on February 12 and 13. Visit http://oneyogaforthepeople.ca for tickets and information.

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