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On The Road With Anna Deavere Smith Open Access


Other title
Anna Deavere Smith
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Cullen, Katherine A
Supervisor and department
Kerr, Rosalind (Department of Drama)
Examining committee member and department
Read, Daphne (Department of English and Film Studies)
Muneroni, Stefano (Department of Drama)
Kerr, Rosalind (Department of Drama)
Hawkins, Alex (Department of Drama)
Department of Drama

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This thesis examines Anna Deavere Smith's contribution to American theatre with regard to her life and artistic practice. The first chapter examines Smith's development of her theatrical project, On The Road: The Search for American Character with its approach to acting that emphasizes empathetic listening to the speech patterns, rhythm, cadence and physicality of the the “other” in order to identify with them. Chapter two offers a close reading of Fires in the Mirror as a theatrical presentation that examines racialized identities as process-orientated and intensified by tragic incidents. Chapter three looks at Smith's next success, Twilight, Los Angeles, 1992 and focuses on tensions and differences between racially opposed characters in an effort to open up a democratizing space in the midst of the race riots. Chapter four considers Smith's latest play Let Me Down Easy as a departure from her previous work on race relations, but shows how she continues to deal with the struggle of human beings to perform their identities around issues of access to universal healthcare.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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