Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why character was your favorite and why?

“All the characters were pretty much of a muchness – just different stances that she might do in an exercise class. It seemed to be about Anna going here and Anna going there and Anna being various Annas…”—Jennifer J

“The doctor in the charity hospital in New Orleans; I think I identified with her desire to believe that individual effort can triumph over political realities, and empathized with the shame and sadness she felt when she had to recognize that wasn’t true.”—BTM

“Amid the vast cast of characters, those with the most distinct voices – often therefore those with a more comic or lighter dimension to their stories, in all the woe  – stood out, so the doctor/administrator who was a hospital patient whose files got lost was remembered fondly afterwards, for example.  On the whole, the pace, variety, and volume of voices became, for my ability to follow, somewhat problematic, and my advice (as if this genius needs my advice) would be that less could be more here…. Of course, the multi-faceted approach, dramatic cubism, as it were, is key … but I wasn’t quite equal to the entirety and became a tad overwhelmed.”—Spectator B.

“Young Rwandan woman at Stanford now (6 during genocide) – so real without bitterness – SHE is a healer.  In Health: Stanford Dean – what he said about health care system.  The Imam – Americans need to hear from more Imams, and the final speaker on life and death.—Shulamit S.

“Probably the (now) young woman at Stanford who was able to forgive her family’s killers–but made it clear that it was only once they came and asked to be forgiven…and that there is an in-between stage in which one holds on to what happened.”—meh-k

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

“No one – unless by a process of swapping & editing leaving a more manageable final product.”—Spectator B.

“Other children? A child in health care system? (Dana Farber?) Hospice worker? Not sure if it fits thematically with other characters (closest to the jockey), athletes, dancers (Judith Jamison).”—Shulamit S.

Have you experienced grace in your life?  How?

“Let’s hope we all have … somehow!?  When I’ve finished my multi-volume opus on the subject and actually understand it, you will be the first to know!”—Spectator B.

“Anna’s work is grace – the creation, the performance, the lasting take-away.    I cannot imagine her doing that work without grace.”—Shulamit S.

“But to me, grace is really different from any of those aforementioned things. To me, grace is a very specific sweet, salutary, poignant, charged, soft, powerful, special moment.”—meh-k

Other comments?

“Not her best show by far.”—Jennifer J

“I love Smith’s work and teach two of her other plays.  But this is just a mess. It’s got no focus, badly needs editing, and in truth, I don’t get the impression that A.D.S. believes in it as strongly…her performances of the characters was not as sharp.  She’s trying to tackle far too many topics here.  And in truth, I have no idea what she was getting at.”—Gino D.

“Any Anna Deavere Smith performance is powerful and moving and thought-provoking, this one didn’t quite hang together for me. The scale of the horror in Rwanda knocked everything else off the table; I needed one entire evening to grapple with how grace and forgiveness can possibly function in such a situation and another evening for health care and death in America.”—BTM

“A challenging and valuable night out!”—Spectator B.

“Thank you Anna. Thank you A.R.T.”—Shulamit S.

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