Monday, November 30, 2009

Woman of A Thousand Voices



I fulfilled a dream last month that I had since high school: I saw a live performance by Anna Deveare Smith. She is doing a run at Second Street Theater called Let Me Down Easy, extended through January. She's great at embodying characters and capturing their mannerisms with minimal costume changes. She takes years interviewing people around the world to put a show together. She is known for reciting transcripts from these interviews, so the dialogue sounds especially authentic because it is just that.

Let Me Down Easy was a moving piece exploring people's feelings and ideas about their health, health care and death. Despite the subject matter I was able to thoroughly enjoy some chocolate chip cookies. I sat in the balcony next to a woman holding a script with a book light above it, constantly drawing lines through words on the page. I wondered if she was helping to rewrite the current show or just squeezing in some homework. Afterwards I wrote Ms. Deveare Smith a note to let her know what her performance meant to me and asking her for professional advice on solo shows. I haven't heard back. YET. Maybe I never will. If there's one thing I learned from her hard work it's that cookies are the best way to let me down easy.

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