Award winning actress, playwright, educator, Anna Deveare Smith combines the journalistic technique of interviewing people with the art of interpreting their words through her performance. Never intimidated by controversy, Ms Smith takes on some of the most pressing social issues of our times and weaves the voices of people most affected into one woman theater presentations. “Fires In The Mirror” explores the 1991 clash between Jews and Blacks in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “Twilight” examines the civil unrest following the Rodney King verdict. “Let Me Down Easy” relates the poignancy of the human spirit facing illness and vulnerability. She is said to have created a new form of theater.
Ms Smith’s new work in progress “Field Notes: Doing Time In Education: The California Chapter” focuses on what is termed “the school to prison pipeline.” Ms. Smith interviewed over 100 Northern Californians to better understand why so many young people, particularly at-risk, poor, Latino, African American, Native American end up out of school and in our criminal justice system.
In popular culture you have seen Ms. Smith in Nurse Jackie, The West Wing, The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, and others. As an author, she has written “Letters to A Young Artist: Straight Up Advice On Making A Life In The Arts,” and “Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines.” Along the way, she has earned a MacArthur “genius” grant, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award, two Tony nominations, two Obies and in 2013, she received the 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.
Ms Smith is currently tenured professor at New York University. As an educator, Ms. Smith emphasizes the importance of discipline, creativity, commitment and risk taking in order to create artistic works that can engage an audience, open up dialogue and deepen understanding.
To listen to and/or download Corinne’s conversation with Anna Deavere Smith click the following link: 7-21-2014 Corinne Anna Deavere Smith