Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith, Playwright

Photo by Christopher Gregory / The New York Times

Representative Plays:

Let Me Down Easy (2009)
Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (1993)
Fires in the Mirror (1992)


Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, teacher, and author. Her most recent play and film, Notes from the Field, look at the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism. The New York Times named the stage version of Notes from the Field among The Best Theater of 2016 and Time magazine named it one of the Top 10 Plays of the year. HBO premiered the film version in February 2018. Smith’s theater combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. Plays include Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, House Arrest, and Let Me Down Easy. Twilight: Los Angeles was nominated for two Tony Awards. Fires in the Mirror was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize. Smith is the founding director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at New York University, where she is also University Professor at Tisch School of the Arts.



Professional Website

TED Talk: Four American Characters

Resources found in the UC Berkeley Library Database:

(CalNet authentication required)

Twilight: Los Angeles (1992) (Monologue)

Fires in the Mirror (Full Text) 

This playwright profile is part of the BIPOC Playwrights Project, a resource for theater educators and practitioners who are looking for a broader choice of texts and materials. Playwrights listed on this website are not necessarily affiliated with the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.