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Friday, May 27, 2011

Anna Deavere Smith is Awesome

Anna Deavere Smith's show was awesome!!!!
She's a prize winning actress and playwright, but hadn't seen her plays or work on t.v. Omg, what I've been missing!!!!!! I absolutely loved the characters she performed for Smarttalk. Her technique, combining a journalistic approach to interview her subjects and then interpreting those words in performance, is so cool! 
Like the nurse, from her play about health care in America, caught in the hell of hurricane Katrina. Even though it was a serious conversation, she captured her characters charm, humor, and essence. It was touching, entertaining, inspiring and powerful!. 
So interesting and funny to hear confidence vs determination brought to life in the story from the rodeo cowboy. And, in contrast to the forgotten in Mississippi, former Texas governor, Anne Richards' recounting her battle with cancer. She had every type of insurance and treatment you could want including a therapist to help manage and maintain her "Chi." Anna crafted an account that was insightful but humorous. Loved it!
Anna's life is a reminder to not be a afraid to think outside the box. Her agent found it hard to place her in roles and the typical head shot cards got her nowhere. But she had questions, and so she let her self go "out side the box" creating her plays using her unique talent for interviewing and interpretive performance. And, she got noticed.
Congrats to Smarttalk for bringing another great performer, and year of performances, to the Dupont Theatre!!!!!! Can't wait for next year!

Anna is the founding director of Anna Deavere Smith Works, a nonprofit that convenes artists whose work addresses the world's most pressing problems.
Her television and movie credits include Nurse JackieThe West WingThe American President and others. Honorary degrees include those from Juilliard, Northwestern and a Radcliffe Medal. She was runner up for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Fires in the Mirror.
She's also a professor at New York University.

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