Anna Deavere Smith is a playwright and actress whose transformational one-woman shows have been celebrated for their unique blend of art and journalism. The MacArthur Fellow joins us to discuss a career stretching from TV’s “The West Wing” and “Nurse Jackie,” to her recently being awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama.

Interview Highlights

Anna Deavere Smith, actor and playwright; and professor at New York University

  • thucy

    I like Anna Deveare Smith a lot, she’s incredibly talented, but her act was better when Danny Hoch was doing it.
    Unfortunately, no President would ever give Hoch any national awards – Hoch is too bristlingly politically outspoken. And too talented.

  • Chris Hammer

    She’s the best!

  • Phil van Eyck

    Anna D. Smith’s work is so important, thought-provoking and moving. As a high school English and drama teacher I’ve used Twilight: LA to explore race and the importance of perspective. What’s more her style of theatre that she has been so instrumental in furthering, works wonders in shaping students’ abilities to empathize, and interest in doing so. This past year we did a show which explored dreams both aspirational and nocturnal. Having to play “real” people was not only a terrific acting exercise, but transformative in the sense of responsibility it gave the students to capture people’s truths. How does she think her work translates to film? Where can one get a copy of Twilight: LA?! How does she think her work, very topical, stands the test of time? Any thoughts of recreating pieces, sequels?

  • John Wilk

    This message is from John Wilk, a former colleague at ACT during our teaching days there. Is your new piece going to cover educational opportunities which may be undermined here in San Francisco at City College (a place where I teach now for 29 years — overlapping my days at ACT) buy a run away accreditation agency?

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