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One Breath, Then Another

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Amanda Erin Miller
August 17, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor, Writer.

What is your show about?
In this performance/ yoga class hyrbid, Amanda Miller journeys with the audience to a yoga teacher training on an ashram in India where, at age twenty-six, she has traveled alone seeking healing to avoid destroying herself like her father.

What do you do when you’re not working on a play?
I write essays, stories, poems, and books. I produce and perform in variety shows, teach yoga classes and give massages. I also teach children about spirituality through the arts.

Complete this sentence: My show is the only one opening in NYC this summer that...?
invites the audience to practice yoga poses, breathing exercises, Sanskrit chants and meditation during the performance.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
This show was adapted from a memoir that I completed in 2010. A large section of the book is about my participation in a yoga teacher training on an ashram in India, a powerful paradigm shifting experience for me. When I finished the manuscript, I didn't anticipate the story existing in a form outside the page. While submitting the book to agents and presses, I was working with an interactive performance ensemble called Playing With Reality. In this work, an audience volunteer becomes the protagonist of a play created on the spot through improvisation. Participants were often deeply impacted and even transformed through their participation, which I found incredibly inspiring. This led to my idea to develop the memoir into a solo show where I would invite the entire audience to practice yoga and meditate, simulating the ashram experience for them. I would tell my story of healing while making the point that everyone has his/her own. By getting audience members to engage with their breath, bodies and memories, my hope was that the show would end up being as much about them as it was about me.

Which character from a Shakespeare play would like your show the best: King Lear, Puck, Rosalind, or Lady Macbeth -- and why?
Puck, because he is mystical, likes to move and is a fan of audience interaction.

Why are theater festivals so very important?
They offer independent theater artists an opportunity to produce their shows at an affordable rate. They offer the public a chance to view innovative new work. They show that independent theater artists are valued.