Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Sunday, September 21, 2008

Which character was your favorite and why?

“Henrietta Mutigwarba because even though her story was so touching and sad, she was the most willing to give forgiveness.  Her story was so devastating, I wasn’t sure how it related back to ‘grace’.  But then at the end of her monologue when she said that she was unable to give the executioners forgiveness because they didn’t ask for it, so she gave them grace…I truly felt that her story was the most touching and closest to my idea of grace.” –Rebecca A.

“The last character, the worker at the orphanage for children with AIDS.  The story of the child going to meet her mother was incredibly poignant, and I was haunted by the character’s very unadorned speech.  It was a sensational, quiet end for the play.”—Paul B.

“How could one dismiss Rev. Cone?  He brought humor and instinct to the dialogue that was intertwined in each act.”—Susan T.

“Anna herself. Her brave struggle as an artist to give form to life questions that are most important to her (as well as most of us) as a human being – a surprisingly rare ambition among artists today.”—LH

“The child from Rwanda who was studying at Stanford.  It was the most moving for me.”—Ellen B.

“I loved the young girl Ingrid and the choreographer. These two stood out to me because the images they were describing were so vivid.”—M.D.

“Dean of the Yale Medical School.”—Neil P.

“Matthieu Ricard — I think his ideas about practicing loving kindness are highly accessible and could lead people to discover more, which is great way to spread the chance of grace.”—Ann B.

Who else would you suggest that Anna interview in her ongoing exploration of grace?

“College students, Tufts University Gospel Choir teacher (David Coleman!) and perhaps children who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses.”—Rebecca A.

“People with disabilities — I’d love to hear from someone who has made a happy life despite major challenges”—Paul B.

“A person who had overcome a difficult physical diagnosis (loss of sight, paraplegic, etc.).”—Susan T.

“Could have used a few more vivid characters as there were in Fire and Twilight, maybe less of Gomes and Cone.”—LH

“Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl (see and Mountains Beyond Mountains).”—Ellen B.

“Sidney Poitier, Maya Angelou.”—M.D.

“Pilots who fly mercy missions in Africa.”—Neil P.

“John Edwards seemed to have so much before his fall — I doubt if he’s lost it, despite reactions to his folly.  That would be an interesting interview.    I’d also like to see Justice Anthony Scalia interviewed because I’d like to know where it fits in his universe, although any justice whose rulings have such far-reaching effects would also be interesting.”—Ann B.

Have you experienced grace in your life?  How?

“I have experienced grace when I overcame 18 of my own years and a three generational history of chronic depression to truly feel what it was like to LIVE.  I am grateful for every day and for every moment that I can truly feel my own emotions.  I am not angry or jealous of others and am always curious to meet new people and find out more about them.  I feel at peace with myself and the world around me.  I love life; I have found peace and grace through introspection, patience, and understand.”—Rebecca A.

“I experience it most intensely when performing a beautiful piece of music with others, either on the piano or singing.”—Paul B.

“To give or receive forgiveness is an unbelievable experience.”—Susan T.

“Recently, awaiting prostate cancer surgery, a surprising Buddhist sense of living in the moment, enjoying every day and worrying very little – it seemed a gift without any sense of a giver.”—LH

“My sister was born with cerebral palsy and the fact that my mother still kept going, decided to raise her and give her and my other siblings the best life possible shows me grace everyday.”—M.D.

“Yes. When my wife agreed to marry me.”—Neil P.

“I try to practice giving without expecting anything — not a reaction or recognition or whatever.  It’s liberating. A harder practice is to avoid judging. It’s much easier to forgive than to not condemn in the first place! Still, when it happens, it’s liberating, too.”—Ann B.

Other comments?

“I love Anna Deavere Smith!  She is an inspiration to all of us, especially us beginner actors.”—Rebecca A.

“This is a beautiful evening.”—Paul B.

“Both my husband and I were blown away with the extent and depth of Anna’s interviews.  How interestingly they all worked together. I can’t imagine how she began editing.”—Susan T.

“I liked the show, but it didn’t feel cohesive.”—Ellen B.

“Anna Deveare Smith was simple, beautiful and so human.”—M.D.

“Lighting in first act is so intense it is hard on old eyes.”—Neil P.

“I enjoyed the expansion of what I thought of as grace — for something that one finds within to something that one can bestow or receive, perhaps (even probably) without being aware of where it’s going and how it can multiply.”—Ann B.


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