anna-deavere-smith

*Playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith’s Off-Broadway production Notes From the Field highlights 19 compelling portraits inspired by her new social justice initiative, The Anna Deavere Smith Pipeline Project.

The two-act play focuses on the correlation of race, education, poverty, mass incarceration, and how systemic racism disproportionately impacts and affects people of color.

A recipient of the National Humanities Medal, Smith has created more than 18 one-person shows and is widely known for creating her brand of documentary theater. Notes From the Field is a follow-up to her critically-acclaimed productions of Let Me Down Easy (2009), Twilight: Los Angeles (1992) and Fires in the Mirror (1991). Smith’s journey to Notes From the Field began with the discovery of the “school-to-prison pipeline” theory which led her to further discussions with social justice experts in New York.

Meanwhile, findings and statistics released by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education showed how poor African Americans, Native Americans and brown children were suspended and expelled from school more frequently than their middle-class white counterparts.

During the pre-production process, Smith traveled across the country and conducted more than 250 hundreds interviews with teachers, principals, students, government officials, advocates, activists, inmates, family members and members of the community on the subjects of gun violence, aggressive policing, racial profiling, and mental health issues.

Read the rest of this review/article at Huffington Post.