Daily Archives: February 19, 2020

Comedian and Storyteller: Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith held a story telling event that lasted approximately an hour followed by questions from the audience who were intrigued with her work. In her performance she was able to express themes that involve issues in America. This event was held on Tuesday February 18th, 2020 in the Colwell Playhouse at the Krannert Art Center.

Written by: Lydia Amezcua Ramirez

A picture of the author/story teller, Anna Deavere Smith

Creative Expression

Anna Deavere Smith’s theater performance was unique in the way that she took interviews to perform real people. By this I mean that she had taken the time to sit down with people, have them share the story they wanted to convey to her, took their story, and performed it in a way that brought laughter to the audience yet still conveyed a specific theme. At the beginning of each new theme she told the audience what the title of each story that she would present would be. This is how I could tell that she presented a new person, based on the different titles. Also, at the end of each story she would say thank you and the audience would clap.

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Performance

Another thing to note about her performance was that she was dressed in a simplistic manner and the set was also set up that way. This is important because she was still able to indicate character without any extra garments to wear. All she needed to present her characters were her use of voice and body gestures. For each new theme she presented she would use a different type of voice to depict that character. As for body gestures, she would also keep it simple and use body movements that indicated the character she was in.

A picture of the stage, showing how simplistic the set up was
This picture depicts the simplicity of the wardrobe worn by Anna Deavere Smith

Stories Told

In her performance, Anna D. Smith was able to represent different aspects of the American past through interview in the way that she selected her themes. The people that she interviewed had a specific theme to share which she wanted to convey surroudning issues of community, character, and diversity in America from the past. For example, she had portrayed a character of a reverend during the civil rights movement. Her themes relate to the present due to the issues that occurred back then in which can still be seen today but less problematic as they were back then.

The way that this performance is different from the news or documentary films is that those are matters of factual detail and given events with names and dates. In Anna Smith’s performance she used theater to convey her characters through acting without giving away the names of the persons she interviewed for the stories. This was a creative performance on her part, especially when she was able to have the audience constantly laughing.

Somi: A Refreshing Story told through Jazz

On Valentine’s Day, Somi sung songs from her previous albums at the Krannert Center.

Written by Weon Taek Na

My ticket and description book to Somi
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Stories of Many Through One: Anna Deavere Smith

Ms. Anna Deavere Smith visited the Krannert Center of Performing Arts with an hour-long show delving into discussions about social issues through the perspective of people on the front lines in a style I describe as a mix between theatre and Ted talk.

Written by Grace Chen

Anna Deavere Smith
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Forms of Protest with Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith, a one woman show who comes from Baltimore, Maryland, interviews countless individuals and forms portraits of certain powerful excerpts that can be recreated by her to form strong impressions on controversial topics.

Written by Willa Wu

Anna Deavere Smith performed in the Colwell Playhouse of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts on February 19, 2020.  Out of the performances I have seen thus far this semester, this one was by far the most surprising.

The night’s ticket stub and program, which detailed the actress’s accomplishments.
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