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Downstage Center
Go in-depth with the leading artists and professionals working on stage today when you go Downstage Center. Downstage Center is the American Theatre Wing's acclaimed weekly theatrical interview program that spotlights the creative talents on Broadway, Off-Broadway, across the country and around the world, with in-depth conversations that simply can't be found anywhere else. Now in its sixth year, Downstage Center, produced in association with CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, has been featured by the Associated Press and Slate.com as the place to go for theatrical talk. New editions will be available every other Wednesday from this website, where you can listen online, download the programs or subscribe to the podcast.

Anna Deavere Smith
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Anna Deavere Smith

America's leading practitioner of "documentary theatre," Anna Deavere Smith, discusses her newest work, Let Me Down Easy, and how it developed from its original commission by the Yale Medical School, through productions at Long Wharf Theater and American Repertory Theater, to its current Off-Broadway run at Second Stage. She also talks about making a career choice between being a social activist or theatre artist while in graduate school; how she began to create her unique works under the banner of On The Road in the early 80s and the process she has used to develop her plays; how she came to the decision to play all the roles in her multi-character works; whether she feels other performers can or should endeavor to mimic the original voices in her plays; why after tackling the Crown Heights riots in her breakthrough work Fires in the Mirror she next took up a thematically similar topic in Twilight: Los Angeles; what her role has been as an artist within think-tanks including Harvard's Institute for Arts and Civic Dialogue and Washington DC's Center for American Progress; why she felt compelled to write the book Letters to a Young Artist: Straight Up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts; and the reason she considers being called a "clown" the highest form of compliment.

Original air date - November 30, 2009
Running Time - 1:00:52

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