On Saturday, Chris and I got student rush tickets to see Anna Deavere Smith’s Let Me Down Easy at the Second Stage Theatre. If you have the opportunity, go see this! It was not exactly cheerful, but you will come away with a lot to think about. You may be stirred up, but you will not be disappointed.
I’d first encountered Smith while I was doing my undergrad at Emerson, when my honors class studied her play Twilight, and ever since, I’d been hoping I’d have a chance to see her perform live. The way she embodies her incredibly varied interview subjects on stage is mind-blowing to me, especially as someone who has performance in my background.
In this one-woman show, she portrays twenty different individuals she interviewed for the play, ranging from Lauren Hutton to Lance Armstrong to a doctor from Charity Hospital in New Orleans to her aunt.
On the surface, the play is about our country and its health care system, but it is also about life and death, winning and losing and all the disparities in between. This write-up in today’s Times is a pretty good summary without giving away too much.
One thing I found myself wondering was if anyone will ever be able to write a successful play about our country’s twisted food culture. At first, I was thinking, “Gee, someone should do an eating disorders play,” but I really think food in our country is such a broad topic and so many different groups of people have so many different and passionate feelings about it, from consumers all the way up through the government and out into the industry. I don’t know how you’d keep it interesting without getting too bogged down in “this bill and that lobbyist,” but it could be really fascinating.