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  • Great Performances

Great Performances | Anna Deavere Smith Talks About "Let Me Down Easy" | PBS

Duration: 02:10
Program: Great Performances

(Premieres on PBS Jan. 13, 2012) Anna Deavere Smith talks about the process by which her play "Let Me Down Easy" was created. Called "the most exciting individual in American theater" by Newsweek magazine, Anna Deavere Smith ("The West Wing," "Nurse Jackie") turns her theatrical exploration to matters of the human body. As in her acclaimed earlier plays Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, Deavere Smith interviews an eclectic range of people and then performs as the interviewees in their own words. This new gallery of indelible portraits ranges from boldface names such as cyclist Lance Armstrong, supermodel Lauren Hutton and Texas Governor Ann Richards, to lesser-known but equally memorable characters, including a rodeo bull rider, a New Orleans hospital doctor and the director of a South African orphanage — all sharing their searing experiences in confronting the price and politics of health, facing the end of life and encountering the ultimate resilience of the human spirit. Of the production, recorded at the Mead Center for American Theater at Washington, DC's Arena Stage, NBC's "Today" raved, "Run — do not walk — to see this play," while the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "This is Smith at the top of her unique documentary form, in writing, performance and timeliness."

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Post Date: January 10, 2012