Notes From The Field OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Tina Fineberg
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    November 2, 2016
    Closing:
    December 11, 2016

    Theater: Second Stage Theatre / 305 West 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10036

    Synopsis: 

    One of the most hailed and provocative theatre artists of our time, Anna Deavere Smith, leads a new installation of powerful first person storytelling in Notes from the Field. Urgent and inspiring, it depicts the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline. Investigating a justice system that pushes minors from poor communities out of the classroom and into incarceration, Notes from the Field shines a light on a lost generation of American youth. Drawn from interviews with more than 250 people living and working within a challenged system, Anna Deavere Smith continues her mastery of the documentary solo performance by stimulating awareness and ultimately, change for the better.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Notes From The Field

    Anna Deavere Smith’s ‘Notes From the Field’ Delivers Voices of Despair and Hope

    Ben Brantley

    November 2, 2016: Just listen, if you would, to how she listens. That may sound like an odd way to invoke what Anna Deavere Smith does in “Notes From the Field,” her wonderfully energizing new performance piece about the cursed intersection of two American institutions, the school and the prison, in a racially divided nation. After all, Ms. Smith talks practically nonstop in the show, which opened on Wednesday night at Second Stage Theater. But Ms. Smith speaking is, implicitly, Ms. Smith listening, paying scrupulous attention to the varied people she embodies with such precision. Though her command of different voices is what’s most obviously dazzling in theatrical terms, that mimetic talent wouldn’t count for much if it didn’t make us share the intent focus she brings to her subjects. In “Notes From the Field,” which has been astutely directed by Leonard Foglia, Ms. Smith assumes the identities of 19 individuals. They appear separately to ruminate and ramble on topics that have made devastating headlines in recent years, including the 2015 death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police officers and the slaughter of African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., that same year.

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