An evening with Anna Deavere Smith


April 8 (Friday)
Engaging the World, a performance related to This Light of Ours

Anna Deavere Smith @ Muhlenberg College's Baker Theatre
7 p.m.

Prepare for one of the most extraordinary experiences in the arts. Hailed by Newsweek as “the most exciting individual in American theater,” Anna Deavere Smith uses solo performance to explore the arts and humanities, identity, and community in America. She began interviewing people—now more than two thousand—across the country some twenty years ago. Without props, sets, or costumes, she translates those encounters into profound performances, each drawing verbatim from the original recorded interview. She has an uncanny ability to inhabit the characters, or rather the people, she’s representing onstage, regardless of their race, gender, or age. And while her approach to cultural commentary is now widely imitated, she remains the master of the form.

After the performance/presentation, which takes place at Muhlenberg College's Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, there will be a period of interaction with the audience. Only $15 members, $20 nonmembers, and SEATING IS LIMITED. Reserve your seats now by calling the Muhlenberg box office at 484-664-3333, or by clicking here. An ASL interpreter will be present.

Anna Deavere Smith has been awarded the 2013 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the largest and most prestigious awards in the arts, as well as the National Humanities Medal. The MacArthur Foundation honored Smith with the “Genius” Fellowship for creating “a new form of theatre — a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie.”

Smith’s breakthrough plays, Fires in the Mirror and the Tony-nominated Twilight: Los Angeles, which dramatized the LA Riots in the days that followed the Rodney King trial, tackled issues of race and social inequality that have become touchstones of her work. Her upcoming play on the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, continues in this tradition by exploring the cycle of suspension from school to incarceration prevalent in low-income communities.

In addition to appearing on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, Smith’s television credits include The West Wing, Black-ish, and Madame Secretary. She has appeared in films, including Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, and The American President. In 1997, Smith founded Anna Deavere Smith Works at Harvard. Now part of the Aspen Institute, where Smith is on the Board of Trustees, ADS Works “cultivates artistic excellence that embraces the social issues of the day.” A University Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and an affiliate with the NYU School of Law, Smith delivered the 2015 NEH Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities.