anna deavere smith

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, teacher, and author. She is said to have created a new form of theater. Smith's theater combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. Her most recent play, Notes from the Field, looks at the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism. HBO recently premiered the film version of Notes from the Field. The New York Times named the stage version among The Best Theater of 2016 and Time magazine named it one of the Top 10 Plays of that year. President Obama awarded Smith the National Humanities Medal in 2013. Other honors include the prestigious MacArthur Award, The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for achievement in the arts, the George Polk Career Award in Journalism, two Tony nominations, and several honorary degrees. She was runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Her play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 was recently named one of the best plays of the last twenty-five years by The New York Times. Smith co-stars on the new television series, For the People, and appears on the hit show Black-ish. Previously she appeared in Nurse Jackie and The West Wing. Movies include The American President, Philadelphia, and Rachel Getting Married. She is a professor at New York University.