As an actress, playwright, and professor, Anna Deveare Smith, cares about the issues of how contemporary art confronts the crises that are emerging in the current world. This time, she brought her good friend, Julia Wolfe, a reputed musician and composer, to give this fantastic Culture Talk with the opportunities to communicate with the audience. Together, they talked about how art can be involved in dealing with the world crisis, and what possible changes that art could bring to the world.
The basis of Anna Deavere Smith’s performance was journalism. She would interview these people, pick out the ones that spoke the most and create them into one woman shows and full fledged plays. Her one woman performance was unique and a showcase of true talent because she had no costume, no props, and no stage decorations at all. She was wearing all black and the only tool she used was her voice. She showed the true power of using your voice. However, something important that she emphasized was that she was not giving these people a voice, these people already had strong and beautiful voices, she was just popularizing their stories to a wider audience. She would preface every character with a short introduction and then word for word use her voice to speak as if she were them. It took voice imitation to a whole other level, using it not just as entertainment but also as social justice and education.