The High Performance Rodeo and The Chop Theatre presents

Through the Gaze of a Navel at Lunchbox, 8 pm Saturday night & 2:30pm Sunday

Four stars

by Stephen Hunt

“Get in the warrior position.”

I’m not exactly sure what the warrior position is. I am standing on a mat in my socks, trying to imitate the women standing around me, who all hear the word ‘warrior’ and drop into a stance that doesn’t look too challenging, so I basically just try to imitate them.

The trouble with assuming the warrior position – or any other – at Through the Gaze of a Navel, a  witty combination of yoga class, spiritual satire and pharmaceutical tutorial, is that it’s hard on the hamstrings when the muscles you’re using the most are the ones in your gut, because you can’t stop laughing.

Emelia Symington Fedy is a yogi with a barbed wit, who conducts the 60 minute long class/performance in a kind of stream-of-consciousness monologue that alternates between spoofing the commodification of eastern philosophy by the west, our relentless – and ridiculous – never-ending search for things such as happiness, inner peace and soulmates, all while leading us all through a gentle exercise class.

Of course, it’s a Friday night exercise class, not a Monday morning, so the vibe in Through the Gaze of a Navel is pretty mellow and pretty amused, too.

Symington Fedy is more comedian than spiritual guru, and as her monologue unfolds, it becomes hilariously apparent that she is no more able to discover inner peace than any of us, although she has enriched an entire industry of spiritual consultants over the years, who bestow tips for living over the phone for juicy payments to their Paypal accounts.

And you know, even as she makes fun of it all, I still feel better watching a performance piece on a yoga mat. Symington Fedy and her backup band of one create an informal, welcoming atmosphere that’s a terrific combination of comedy, spiritual quest – and limber hamstrings.

Let’s just say two of three ain’t bad, and I’ll get back to you about the burn in the hammy after my ice bath.

PS. Symington Fedy, who is the daughter of a pair of psychologists, will be dispensing free 5 minute emotional advice – a la Lucy in The Peanuts – afternoon at the Simmons Building as part of 5 Minute Therapy. (Example from Through the Gaze of a Navel: “Who’s here to meet your soulmate tonight? Everyone? Well you know how many of you are going to meet your soulmate? None of you – because your soulmate is you.”)


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Stephen Hunt is the 2017 High Performance Rodeo Writer in Residence