The Whitefire Solofest Presents “A Jew in The Ashram”

The Whitefire Solofest Presents “A Jew in The Ashram.” Written and Performed by Amanda Miller. Directed by Rachel Evans.

One night only as part of the Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest

You can’t help but have certain expectations when you go to the theatre.  Hopefully most of them positive.  You expect to be comfortable in your seat.  You expect the play to begin on time.  You expect to be entertained…moved maybe.  But what you don’t expect, at least I don’t, is to have a truly spiritual experience.  Well, in a small, dark theatre in Sherman Oaks for the very first time ever, with a simple, moving solo play, that actually happened for me.

“A Jew in The Ashram” is a story about its star and writer, Amanda.  It follows her search for answers as she throws caution to the wind and sets off for a month from NewYork to India to study to be a yoga teacher at an Ashram in a remote village.

It’s quite a tale, full of beautifully thoughtful and imaginative insights from someone searching for their path, determined to forge a peaceful and productive life in what we all know can often be a belligerent and difficult world. 

While she narrates her story, Amanda invites her audience to breath, to center, to meditate and to find their own small space within the theatre and themselves and to fill it with love.  Honestly I don’t really enjoy “joining in,” I am English after all.  But this was different.  This was gentle, safe and very light.  I chanted, I stood still and I found my little bit of peace….

The story and Amanda herself is enchanting.  She struggled with mental illness for years and this play is her testimony.  She touches on so many subjects, so many reflections on her life.  Her family, her sometimes untethered soul, the role of Judaism in her life, her late father and his biological mother, a Holocaust survivor he never met and how all of this and everything thing we all ourselves have in our lives come together to make each of us.

All these stories we all have spiraling around us, our own histories and those of those we love are at times the comfort we yearn for and at others a fog that prevents us from moving on, finding our own paths and our own traditions.  But they are there.  We must accept them and truly know them and then hopefully ourselves through them.  Finding a balance and a peace is the journey we all must take.

Amanda has created something rather remarkable. 

She gifts to us, with sweetness, hilarity and joy her story and then shows us her ability to wrap it around herself with grace and take it with her as she moves through her life.  She guides us in meditation and offers us moments of rare clarity.  I loved this play and I felt enlightened by the end of it.  Truly grateful.

I think she may be Hollywood Fringing this, so with luck you will have another opportunity to see “A Jew in The Ashram.”

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.