York couple's show challenges culture of judgment
Paul Miller knows the people who offer to help him are acting out of compassion.
He does not need doors opened for him, but he chalks those interactions up to a reminder that people are basically good.
It's the salutes, from veterans and non-veterans alike, that get him.
"I don't want to take credit for being a veteran when I am not a veteran," the quadruple amputee said, his throat catching the emotion in his voice.
Miller, 57, has been rebuilding his life since an infection cost him his limbs two years ago. In just that short time, Miller said, he's regained the ability to do all the things he did before getting sick — except riding a motorcycle.
"I haven't quite conquered that yet, but I will," he said.
But the York County man cannot change the way people see him, even if those people mean only to honor a man they assume saw combat.
The show: This weekend, Miller will join a cast of 27 actors in the performance of a show that aims to challenge perceptions and stereotypes lazily attached to everyone from the Amish to the rich to amputees like Miller.
The production — written by a York City couple — is personal, but also timely for a world gripped by racial tensions, Cindy Strawbridge said.
She and her husband, Jonathan Strawbridge, are an interracial couple of vastly different backgrounds.
"Sometimes, what we've learned ... a lot of times people judge you based off of what they see and not what they know," Cindy Strawbridge said.
The "theatrical fashion show" will feature the real-life stories of several actors — adapted for the stage.
"We judge people based off of how they look," Cindy Strawbridge said. "We are all people, and everybody has a story."
Happy and productive: Miller is not an actor. Normally, he wouldn't even go to a play, he said.
But, he said, he sees the Strawbridge's production as an opportunity to deliver an important message.
"You can get through even the most horrible things in life and come out the other end victorious and happy and productive," Miller said.
Tickets for the 7 p.m. shows cost $20 and will include hors d'oeuvres beginning at 6 p.m.
The show, titled "Don't Judge A Soul By Its Suit," is scheduled for performances Friday and Saturday at Logos Academy, 250 W. King St.
— Reach Erin James at firstname.lastname@example.org.