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Judging Amy (a different way)

May 24, 2011
tags: ,

Published in Metro

In the last 20 years, Amy Brenneman has played a detective, a judge and a psychiatrist on TV. In “Mouth Wide Open” she returns to her theatrical roots to perform a new, yet very familiar character: herself.

“I don’t know if people will be surprised by the me in this show,” says the actress known for her roles in “Private Practice” and “Judging Amy.” “I feel like if people had seen every single thing I’ve ever done — God forbid — they’d recognize a lot of the tone in this.”

Brenneman used her own life experiences to structure the show’s scenes, which span from the red carpet to a monastery in Nepal to a hospital room.

“These were the places where a lot was revealed to me,” she explains.

The show’s title refers to a myth about Hindu god Krishna.

“In the story, Krishna’s mother looks into his mouth, and suddenly she understands the nature of the universe. When he closes his mouth she forgets it all. I love that idea.

What are those things that on a cellular level really change you? And how can you return to your life as if nothing has happened?”

Though “Mouth Wide Open” is a personal piece, Brenneman says that it’s also very theatrical and, hopefully, something audiences will connect with.

“My goal is that by expanding this material, it becomes universal. That kind of helps with the incredible shame of self-revelation,” she says with a laugh.

(Private) practice makes perfect

Brenneman has performed on the American Repertory Theater stage before. When an undergrad at Harvard, the actress appeared in several A.R.T. productions and collaborated with classmate Sabrina Peck, director of “Mouth Wide Open,” for the first time.

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