Ditched at the altar, disoriented Debbie dives headlong into yoga to deal with her damage. Luck guides her to an exclusive class at a tony Hamptons studio led by two gorgeous, wise, powerful women. After healing physically and emotionally beyond her dreams, Debbie spots cracks in the studio's stunning facade of unity. If her spiritual doctors cannot heal themselves, will their latest patient have a permanent relapse?
Debbie has been ditched at the altar. Desperate for solace, she buys a leotard and ventures into an exclusive class at Yin Yang Yoga, the Hamptons’ most exclusive studio. The class she has stumbled into isn’t even really a class. Rather, it is a small group selected for its “supreme balance.” Anduin, the club’s owner, and Li, her fellow teacher, are an incredibly gifted pair. Anduin’s calm serenity is balanced by Li’s manic cheerfulness. They take turns teaching this class, which consists of just a few die-hard devotees. Claudia is a famous cosmetics mogul of a certain age, with a bad back. Bob is a 50-ish, blue-collar laundromat owner with tight hamstrings. The newest member, Tate, is a blonde god who “teaches in the city.” Claudia recommends a beginner’s class, but Anduin senses Debbie’s great need and seizes upon the opportunity to make a profound difference to someone again. Debbie is tentative at first, but stays with it. Tate corrects Debbie’s form, while Li is teaching. This irks Li. She’s been overtired lately, raising a baby by herself. Is Tate challenging her effectiveness? Debbie gives Li a chance to prove her worth again. If she can sort out that hot mess, Anduin wouldn’t dream of replacing her. Claudia’s insecurities surface when it’s clear that novice Debbie surpasses her in flexibility. And in the fragrance industry, her once-praised products are losing shelf space to young celebrity brands. Bob attempts to befriend Debbie, but is unexplainably rebuffed. He could use a friend himself. His own long marriage has just broken up, a fact he hides from Yin Yang, so as not to disturb the peace. Gradually, thanks to Anduin and Li’s patient efforts, Debbie grows steadier on her feet. But in her mind, there is still an impenetrable block. One day, before anyone else arrives, Debbie suddenly comes on to Bob. Claudia walks in before it can go too far, but she has seen enough, and all hell breaks loose. Debbie confesses everything. It was a sexual compulsion that prevented her marriage, when her fiance discovered she had slept with all the wedding vendors. Having exposed her shame, Debbie’s healing can begin. But everyone else’s peace is about to unravel. Tate, finally permitted by Anduin to teach a class, leads Debbie to another surprising emotional breakthrough. Li is jealous of his success where she had failed. When she learns that, on top of that, Anduin and Tate have secretly been an item, Li feels that she is being pushed out, no longer needed since her “Asian” face is already on the brochures. Li quits and storms out. Claudia and Bob, like the children of divorcing parents, take sides. Bob follows Li out. Claudia clings to Anduin and tries to get rid of Debbie, who caused it all. To see her spiritual parents reunited, Debbie reveals that Tate came on to her. Though gorgeous, Tate has deep insecurities that surfaced when Debbie fell for Bob over his glorious self. Debbie is telling the truth, but Anduin chooses to believe Debbie threw herself at Tate and he was the one who must have resisted her. Deep down, Anduin knows Tate is guilty, but she needs him and needs to be needed by him. So her serene mask finally cracks. Rumors fly around the Hamptons about who did what to whom and why Yin Yang Yoga, this haven of peace and harmony, blew up into all out war. With Claudia hiring skywriters to defame Li, and Bob turning one of his laundromats into a competing yoga studio for Li to run, Debbie is caught in the middle. Knowing her introduction into this mix caused all the trouble, she yet realizes that maybe this was a good thing. Because of her, everyone involved has now been forced to face and deal with their deepest damage. And maybe, once the storm has subsided, the balance at Yin Yang will be restored, and they will all recover the better together than apart.
I LOVE this play!
–Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
Debbie – 30s. Warm but troubled; haunted by her past errors.
Anduin – Late 30s. Beautiful, elegant African-American yoga instructor.
Tate – Late 20s-30ish. A blond god radiant with charm and positivity.
Claudia – 50ish. A mega-wealthy, powerful cosmetics giant.
Bob – Late 40s-50ish. A good-natured laundromat owner with blue-collar roots.
Li – Mid-20s. A vibrant Asian-American yoga instructor and single mom.
Setting: A yoga studio in the Hamptons. One scene on a beach can be achieved simply with lighting and sound.
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“…the combination of yoga and wise humane comedy should serve to make this a play that lots and lots of companies all over the world will want to do.” –Martin Denton, nytheatre.com
“This really does feel like one of those times when we're seeing the making of a big hit unfolding.” –Martin Denton
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The production materials for Downward Facing Debbie include:
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Director's Script – Single-sided script with space for director’s notes.