On Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm Anna Deavere Smith performed Snapshots: Portraits of a World in Transition. Her performance consisted of acting out several of her interviews with people around America, bringing her interviews to life.
Anna Deavere Smith, revered as a genius who created ‘a new form of theater’ held a performance at the Colwell Playhouse in Krannert Center on Tuesday, February 18.
By Aejin Shin
Anna Deavere Smith. Who is she? According to
her program profile, she is an actor, playwright, and educator. These days,
thanks to the FAA110 class, I am watching many performances at the krannert
center. Some of them I was able to understand the content by seeing the title
of the show (like Shanghai Ballet and Drumfolk), but others were impossible to
grasp until I saw the show, like Somi. This performance is in the latter case.
Until I entered the concert hall, I had no idea what kind of show I was going
to see today. Nor did I know if she was a singer, comedian, or even an actor,
because I had no background knowledge of her. However, it took only five
minutes to fall into her charms.
This was definitely a new kind of show.
There were no fancy stage settings or costumes for the performance, nor were
there any other performers. However, she had the ability to dominate the stage
by herself. She interviewed others, then recorded their voices and changed the
recordings into a performance.
Anna Deavere Smith’s performance made her
show very special. It was completely different from news stories,
documentaries, and dramas that tell only objective truths. She delivered to the
audience what she wanted to convey through her acting. Her performance was
quite different from any other performances that I’ve seen at the Krannert
Center. Her performance was neither news, nor drama, nor stand-up comedy, but
humorously allowed people to know the exact truth. She tries to express
Americans’ diverse opinions on various social issues. She has already
interviewed more than 2,000 people so far. Smith acts out a variety of people
by making variations in her voice. She describes people with gestures as well
as her voice.
She also communicated with the audience
through questions and answers after the performance. I didn’t fully understand
the stories, but I thought it was wonderful to have a moment like this. She
could use the audience’s questions as more material for her next performance.
Anna Deavere Smith performed on February 18, 2020 at the Colwell Playhouse in the Krannert Center for Performing Arts. With her, she brought an interesting form of story-telling and impersonations in a bit she called “Forms of Protests”–also know as, “Getting Through the Day”.
Written by Zackarya Faci
Smith’s performance consisted of a myriad of interviews from people across America. She would take the interviews she conducted and interpret them in a way she could present to the audience. Each story came with an impersonation of the interviewee–which helped sell the emotions the individuals were feeling at the time. Smith would use different voices, interjections, and stutter; all these aspects made it feel as though we, the audience, were conducting the interview and Smith was replying to us.
Famous playwright, actor, and educator, Anna Deavere Smith, brought her performance to Colwell Playhouse at Krannert Center on Tuesday, February 18. She was praised for creating ” a new form of theatre– a blend of art, social commentary, and journalism.”
Written by Bingchen Li
If you ask me, what is the last show I will watch before I die, I will definitely answer Anna Deavere Smith’s performance. During her performance, she does not have fancy costumes, props, and other performers, what she uses for the performance, is her voice. She interviewed different people first, and then recorded them and turned the conversations into performance, by herself. It is amazing that she can imitate those people perfectly that you can clearly know the emotional condition of the character, the age of the character, and the views from the characters.
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.
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.
On the evening of Valentine’s Day on February 14, Somi’s performance was held at Colwell Playhouse in Krannert center.
By Aejin Shin
Somi, the daughter of immigrants from
Rwanda and Uganda, was born in Illinois, where the show was performed. She is a
very famous vocalist and composer. Her songs have very special theme – the
stories of African immigrants in New York’s Harlem.
She told a story before performing. This was
a very effective way to get the audience engaged. Also, these introductions and
backgrounds also took place in between songs. When perfoming, it felt like she was
directly communicating with me. She also naturally included the audience in her
Somi’s performance consisted of Somi and
her band. They showed great chemistry. The band made her song more exciting.
Different types of musical instruments were used, and the techniques of the
performers were different song by song.
Somi introduced musicians from her team
during the performance. The thing I was impressed with was that Somi showed a
very deep respect to her band. In fact, this kind of performance is usually
performed mainly by vocalists. But Somi shared the spotlight with her band
members resulting in most musicians getting a chance to play solo. They looked
like true friends, not just partners.
She sang various kinds of songs. The day of
the concert was Valentine’s Day, and there were songs about oppressions,
Harlem, and so on, including a love song centered around Valentine’s Day. She
sometimes screamed and sometimes sang in a sweet voice. She led the performance
skillfully. I admired her professionalism. Due to my native language not being
English, sometimes I couldn’t fully understand her message. However, her music
clearly contained a message easy to follow. Even if I couldn’t fully understand
the lyrics, her performance helped fill the gaps.
If you’re more curious about Somi and her performance, you can visit Somi’s site for more information.
Somi, an Urbana-Champaign native, performed in the Colwell Playhouse at KCPA on February 14, 2020. Her jazz performance sent a prominent message about being present and told a story of the diverse, culture-rich Harlem.
Written By Zackarya Faci
From the moment Somi stepped on stage there was nothing but positive vibes in the air. She prefaced the performance with a little background about herself; she would even ask the audience questions and build off that engagement. One could easily tell she was being genuine and sincere as her bright smile and cheerful laugh filled the performance hall. Somi is of Ugandan and Rwandan decent and grew up in Champaign, but she has since moved to New York. The songs she performed were from her latest album “Petite Afrique” (meaning little Africa in French), which pertains to the microcosm that is Harlem.