Anna Deavere Smith on Let Me Down Easy

Anna Deavere Smith on Let Me Down Easy

Anna Deavere Smith in Second Stage Theater’s production of Let Me Down Easy at Washington’s Arena Stage, December 31, 2010 to February 13, 2011. Photo by Joan Marcus.

“I think the theater offers us right now two things that become increasingly important to me. I believe that theater is really a place where we can, together, seek meaning, and even if you’re not talking to the person sitting next to you, you may be aware that they’re crying when you’re laughing. And I feel in our country right now, in such a fractious society where you could live very well with the people who laugh when you laugh and cry when you cry, that it’s really important to know about that stranger sitting next to you.” —Anna Deavere Smith

Playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith spoke with Catherine Sheehy, chair of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at Yale School of Drama and resident dramaturg at Yale Repertory Theatre, about the evolution of Smith’s one-woman show Let Me Down Easy and the theater’s important role in helping audience members to know “that stranger sitting next to you.” Co-sponsored by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, this event took place on March 27, 2011 and was part of the American Playwrights in Context series at the Philadelphia Theatre Company.

Download the full interview transcript (PDF) >

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