Romy [Sara] Shiller lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is a pop culture critic, actor and author. She is one of Canada's leading underground artistic and academic voices specializing in the fluidness of gender.
Romy Shiller, is considered a medical mystery. In 2003 she had a brain tumour removed and went into a five month coma. Afterwards, she had akinetic mutism and did not speak until March 2004. She is currently disabled.
Romy decided to self-publish books documenting her experience. She types using one bent finger. This is much slower than she is used to, and while it is a challenge, it does not feel daunting to her. She does not let her present physical difficulties get in the way.
Her first book 'You Never Know: A Memoir' not only tells the story of her brain surgery, lengthy coma and Akinetic Mutism but she muses about reality, death, time, popular culture, psychic phenomena and dreams.
Her other book is 'Again.' It combines an academic exploration of reincarnation with real-life experiences. Using as a basis the altered reality of quantum physics, Shiller extrapolates. It is for everyone. More than anything it is an insightful philosophy of life.
A third book is 'Who Knew?' It is a continuation of Romy's book ‘You Never Know: A Memoir.' This is less of a sequel because of her ongoing recovery and more of a continuation.
Romy has a play called 'Le Wow.' The conventional set-up in plays has expectation associated with it. This play defies cultural expectation by exploding heterosexual myths and priorities. Race, age and beauty are also exposed as cultural constructs, which can be constructed differently. Le Wow is a retelling of 1980s Montreal. It is based on a relationship. As a witness to certain places Shiller is documentarian and as a pop-culture analyst she weaves into her story a 1980s sensibility.
An article of hers on the television show 'Queer as Folk' is used to teach a University course on Communications. A response article was generated in the San Francisco Chronicle. A separate article about the Toronto Drag Kings, was taught at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. It has been chosen to be included in several books.
She is in the book Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts it in a Box edited by Merri Lisa Johnson - Director, Center for Women’s & Gender Studies, University of South Carolina, Upstate, 2006-present. Romy Shiller is a 3rd Wave Feminist according to the book. An entire chapter is devoted to her article on 'Queer as Folk. Romy Shiller has been on the same course syllabus as Simone de Beauvoir.
Most of her articles can be read on her blog, The Shiller Articles.
Romy Shiller holds a PhD in Drama from the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama, University of Toronto where she wrote a doctoral dissertation entitled 'A Critical Exploration of Cross-Dressing and Drag in Gender Performance and Camp in Contemporary North American Drama and Film.'
In addition to having a PhD from the University of Toronto, she has a master's degree in Drama from there as well. Her Bachelor of Arts degree is from McGill University where she studied English. She went to Vanier College for her CEGEP and attended Mount Royal High School for her secondary studies.
Romy Shiller attended Berkshire Center for the Performing Arts (USA) and The Hampton Playhouse (USA) where she studied Musical Theatre. She went to The Ashton Dance Academy for Ballet (Montreal) and The Dance Factory for Jazz Dance and Modern Dance (Montreal).
Media Appearances and Performances
In 1997, Romy Shiller appeared in the film, 'An Innocent Kiss,' directed by Tina Hahn under Cottage Creative Productions. She also played the role of Wendy in Chris Philpott's 'The Eternal Husband.' In the play, 'Kyotopolis' by Daniel David Moses, she played Barbara Buck/Jo/Beaver Puppet at The Robert Gill Theatre in Toronto under the direction of Colin Taylor.
She would often substitute for Host/Arts Critic Melinda Best on Café Express, CHIN 101.3 FM.
Romy Shiller was a Special Guest with The Bitch Diva at Pimbletts. She performed with the bands Mystic Muse and Forever Changing.
Romy Shiller was on the CBC News with her book 'You Never Know: A Memoir'.
Romy Shiller is in an issue (Fall '08) of U of T Magazine. (MA 1992, PHD 1999)
Romy Shiller is in Lipstik Indie as the "feature artist" for You Never Know: A Memoir and appears there for her book 'Again'.
Romy Shiller is in an issue of The Canadian Jewish News. Romy is reviewed for 'You Never Know: A Memoir'.