Anna Deavere Smith
Let Me Down Easy
Tue, Feb 22, 2011 | 8:00PM
Wed, Feb 23, 2011 | 8:00PM (Sold Out)
Fri, Feb 25–Sat, Feb 26, 2011 | 8:00PM
Sat, Feb 26, 2011 | 2:00PM
Sun, Feb 27, 2011 | 2:00PM
"She casts a radiance on the many ways in which we care for one another, as well as ourselves."—Variety
Anna Deavere Smith is one of the foremost solo theater artists of our time and a highly respected actress who has created numerous memorable characters on stage, in film, and on television. You may recognize her from Showtime's Nurse Jackie or remember her from The West Wing or such movies as Rachel Getting Married, The American President, and Philadelphia. In her solo theater productions, she has pioneered the journalistic style of portraying multiple real-life characters with texts drawn verbatim from her own interviews, resulting in the awarding-winning shows Twilight: Los Angeles and Fires in the Mirror.
Now she returns to the Wexner Center with her latest production, Let Me Down Easy, which incisively examines coping with illness, injury, survivorship, and mortality. This moving play was first intended as a departure from past shows centered on timely, hot-button issues like race and politics. Commissioned by Yale University's medical school to create a play about the human body, she honed the focus in response to recurrent themes in the interviews. By the time Let Me Down Easy became an off-Broadway hit in 2008, it was seen as a reflection of the politically polarized debate over health care and a highly visible point of reference for television and press reporters.
In Let Me Down Easy, Smith brings us voices whose unique perspectives and personal experiences of facing illness and navigating our health-care system ring too true to be denied. The 20 characters she uncannily channels range from regularly banged up rodeo star Brent Williams, to cycling champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, to outspoken former Texas governor Ann Richards, who eventually succumbed to that disease, along with Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler and risk-taking choreographer Elizabeth Streb, among others. Smith takes you on a journey of insight, empathy, and understanding through a remarkable night of thought-provoking theater you'll long remember. The New York Times describes it as "a vivid compendium of life experienced at its extremes, drawn equally from the suffering and the ministering sides of the story," filled with "details that add to the verisimilitude of the testimony."