Thursday, December 21, 2017

An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith.

Anna Deavere Smith is a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominated American actress best known to television audiences as Nancy McNally on The West Wing and Gloria Akalitus on Nurse Jackie. Anna Deavere Smith’s theater work has become an inspirational source for civil discourse. She began the evening by playing the part of the man who video taped the police brutality which resulted in death of Eric Garner by compression of neck, due to a choke hold, compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.  Anna interviews people and then recreates that interview through a theatrical performance.  The result was an infuriated outburst by someone who is shocked and horrified by the continued police brutality that is rampant today.  Sometimes witnessing improper use of force is all that can be done. 

Through a short performance and interview, audiences heard about the process of combining a passion for social causes with documentary style theatre making. Ms. Smith seeks to “discern the American character and to capture its politics.” The discussion focused on how she finds the authentic voice of the people she interviews and then creates on stage.

Her brief performance was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Not having a TV, I haven't seen any of the shows that Anna starred in. I admire the premise of her one woman shows which are a combination of documentary and theater.  Her discussion on how she conducts her interviews was insightful.  I clearly see the need of hearing peoples' stories, because every voice has its place in history. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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