Kudos to MacArthur Award winner Anna Deavere Smith and her latest theatrical endeavor, paying close attention to the increasing prison population in Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education—The California Chapter, now playing through August 2, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Following in her own footsteps, the Baltimore MD native continues to chronicle cultural pivot points in contemporary American history: her Twilight Los Angeles shed light on the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles and Fires in the Mirror offered reflections of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood race riots in 1991.
This time around, Smith takes on the exasperating, societal chokehold of school to prison pipelines. Her arresting one-woman performance
embodies numerous character portrayals, accompanied by jazz musician, Marcus Shelby. They strum courageously and pointedly through a series of conversations Smith has had with luminaries and everyday people depicting life as we now know it via opinion and excerpt. The unexpected bonus includes veritable breakout sessions–the interactive second act–audience members are asked to meet with facilitators to reflect and respond to solution-oriented actions that could potentially affect change within local communities.
Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education—The California Chapter
Created, written, and performed by Anna Deavere Smith Music composed and performed by Marcus Shelby Directed by Leah C. Gardiner Special Presentation · Roda Theatre July 11–August 2, 2015
Anna Deavere Smith turns her attention to “the school-to-prison pipeline” and performs striking portraits culled from interviews she conducted with nearly 150 individuals in Northern California and elsewhere in the nation, affected by the pipeline’s devastating policies—capturing the dynamics of a rapidly shifting social issue through her trademark performance technique.
For more information, go to http://www.berkeleyrep.org/season/