York playwright debuts show with quadruple amputee
If you go
What: "Don't Judge A Soul By Its Suit," a theatrical fashion show
When: Hors d'oeuvres are served at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25
Where: Logos Academy, 250 W. King St., York
Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
For tickets and info: Call 717-968-6011, email email@example.com or visit Destined2BeProductions on Facebook.
When 57-year-old Paul Miller walks down the street, he knows all eyes are on him.
People can't help but stare when they come across a quadruple amputee with prosthetic legs and hooks where his hands should be.
"Kids are the funniest ones," Miller of Spring Grove said. "They'll stare and stare and stare."
But what they don't know is that Miller's life wasn't always this way. Up until five years ago, Miller used his hands every day working as a truck driver at Paul Miller Trucking in North Codorus Township.
On Super Bowl Sunday 2013, Miller became ill with Streptococcus pneumonia, a condition with only a 5 percent survival rate. Doctors put him in an induced coma and amputated both his hands and feet to save his life. Had he arrived at the hospital just 30 minutes later, he would have been dead, he said. But, holding onto his faith and his wife for support, Miller survived.
Read more about Miller here.
When local playwright Cindy Strawbridge heard his story after meeting him at a restaurant a few weeks ago, she knew more people should hear his story.
"I saw him, and I said, 'I need you for my play,'" she said.
Strawbridge — co-owner of Destined 2 Be Productions, which puts on two theatrical productions a year in York — had been working on her summer play called "Don't Judge A Soul By Its Suit." The play — or theatrical fashion show, as she calls it — tells the stories of local and regional people she's met who have been falsely judged based on their looks. And she thought Miller was the perfect candidate.
Strawbridge immediately wrote Miller's story into the plot, and on July 24 and 25, he'll make his acting debut at Logos Academy in York.
"I am way out of my comfort zone," Miller said. "I would describe myself as a red neck trucking company owner that would not even go and see a play, but I was so impressed with Cindy when I met her."
The play begins with a fashion show, but it won't be a typical fashion show featuring designer clothing lines. It'll be a show that emphasizes the idea that you can't judge a person based on outward appearance.
"What we're focusing on here is that sometimes the people that are dressed so elegantly, that we so desire to look like, are often times the people that have a lot of issues behind closed doors," she said, and vice versa. "Sometimes we judge people based off of the way they look or their religion or their race, never giving them an opportunity to really know who they are."
Throughout the show, the audience will see eight different skits, half of which are based on true events and performed by real people. Some of the 26 characters (in addition to Miller) include a woman and her abusive husband, a maid, members of the Amish community and a Vietnamese woman at a nail salon.
"Every act is something that you would experience on the street, in a church, in an unemployment line," Miller said. "I, myself, witnessed everything in that play in my life, many times in my life."
"If I can inspire people like I think this play will inspire people, I think that's great," he added.