Online Hubbub: Let Me Down Easy, Friday, October 10, 2008

Which character was your favorite and why?

“To me that is like asking “which of your children is your favorite.” They all moved me deeply. The Rwandans, the monk, dialysis mother, gardener, writer.  All the characters are going through my head and heart today.”—juliad

“The Hutus / Tutsis episode was very moving.”—Pat S

“The story of Ingrid Inema touched me the most.”—Mishy

“Ingrid Inema, Peter Gomes, Trudy Howell, it was very difficult to choose only one.”—Marge T.

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

“Perhaps a US prisoner who is a no BS-er about grace.”—juliad

“I was very surprised that, having spent time in Rwanda, Anna didn’t bring into the play the extraordinary experience of the Gacaca Courts.  I can think of few examples of grace that are more powerful and poignant than that of Rwandan villagers electing from their peers “seven people of integrity” to judge those accused of genocide.  During a Gacaca Trial, the villagers assemble, the prisoners are brought in, people ask questions of the prisoners, and if the people and judges feel the prisoner has fully confessed, he is freed.  If he shows no remorse or capacity for atonement, he returns to prison.  This form of justice was invented by the survivors of the Rwandan genocide who have nowhere else in the world to go with their brokenness.  In other words, they must work things out among themselves or face doom.  This kind of grace, which shows us the way toward reconciliation and forgiveness, is critical to humanity’s future.  If the theme of the play is grace, it would be strengthened if it included testimony about these grassroots trials and other forms of community reconciliation.”—Mishy

“Jonathan Kozol.”—Marge T.

Have you experienced grace in your life?  How?

“Yes.  Through my two kids, working w/women who are battered, doing AIDS work in prison where I first saw the face of suffering as Christ, as an actress in relationship with truths of connection on stage, now as an Episcopal priest in pastoral care at a Boston hospital.”—juliad

“When I left my last position at a university, the Dean said I fulfilled my responsibilities with grace and generosity.  Grace was not a quality that I was that conscious of and didn’t know I possessed.  I began to pay attention to people I came in contact with and try to recognize it in others.”—Marge T.

Other comments?

“The work was brilliant and words do not suffice. To give us an intimate connection w/so many people was powerful and heartbreaking – yes, let the cracks let in the light of grace.”—juliad

“Smith is a great performer.  However, this material was still too fragmented, and the piece too long for a solo piece.  It still needs to be pared down more.  I also felt that Smith lost sight of her pursuit of “grace” relatively early on, and then we went on this wild journey that seemed very random.”—not me

“Anna Deavere Smith is great!”—Pat S

“I give a deep bow to Anna Deavere Smith, who I think is a national treasure.  There were stunning moments in ‘Let Me Down Easy’ and others that I found to be a distraction.  I think the play would benefit greatly from more focus and the dropping of several of the characters during the first half.”—Mishy

“It was a wonderful performance by a very talented,  caring and involved person.”—Marge T.

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