She set the Bay Area ablaze with Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles. In recent years, you’ve seen her on The West Wing and Nurse Jackie. Now Anna Deavere Smith returns to Berkeley Rep with her latest theatrical hit. Let Me Down Easy examines the body and the body politic, as only Anna Deavere Smith can. Using her unique performance style, she introduces you to a rodeo rider, a prize fighter and an altruistic doctor—as well as legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong, supermodel Lauren Hutton and former Texas Governor Ann Richards. Together, their voices tell a stunning story about the vulnerability of the human body, the resilience of the spirit and the price of care. “Run—do not walk,” says NBC’s Today show—to see the latest work from this unparalleled performer as she makes her first Bay Area appearance in 15 years.
Anna Deavere Smith has won two Obie Awards, two Drama Desk Awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She earned the inaugural Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for Let Me Down Easy.
Leonard Foglia directed the Broadway productions of Master Class, On Golden Pond, Thurgood and Wait Until Dark. His work has also been seen in London, off Broadway and at theatres and operas across America.
“Extraordinary…This is Smith at the top of her unique documentary theater form, in writing, performance and timeliness. As she did in her landmark 1990s ‘riot’ plays—Fires in the Mirror (about the Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn) and Twilight: Los Angeles—Smith picks a topic, conducts numerous interviews and weaves excerpts from a dozen or more into a compelling, multifaceted dramatic exploration…The result is pure theatrical gold and something more—a topic of vital interest looked at from so many different angles that it can’t help but advance the conversation.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Dazzling…a mind-blowing 105-minute, one-woman show. While some actors lose their laser-sharp edge after taking TV gigs, Smith remains at the top of her craft…Certainly the Pulitzer nominee raises the bar for herself in terms of distilling complex ideas, from the politics of class to the relationship between death and culture, into tiny little vignettes that resonate with a universe of nuance. Smith invites us to attend a town hall of one where she channels a chorus of 20 voices that seem to speak for us all.”—San Jose Mercury News / Bay Area News Group
“Remarkably uplifting…Let Me Down Easy fascinates, compels and ultimately moves us as Smith gives voice to bodies and minds involved in life-and-death struggles…She has the instincts and drive of a journalist, the performance style of a skilled thespian and the soul of a poet striving for grace…You leave the theater feeling nourished and provoked.”—Chad Jones’ Theater Dogs