On The Road With Anna Deavere Smith

  • Author / Creator
    Cullen, Katherine A
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Read, Daphne (Department of English and Film Studies)
    • Hawkins, Alex (Department of Drama)
    • Muneroni, Stefano (Department of Drama)
    • Kerr, Rosalind (Department of Drama)