Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, professor and proud Western High School graduate of the class of 1967. Her most recent play and film, Notes from the Field, looks at the vulnerability of youth, inequality, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism. The New York Times named the stage version of Notes from the Field among The Best Theater of 2016 and TIME magazine named it one of the Top 10 Plays of the year. HBO premiered the film version in February 2018.
(Two extraordinary alums pictured. Anna Deavere Smith on the left and Dr. Nancy Grasmick on the right. )
Looking at current events from multiple points of view, Smith’s theater combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. Plays include Fires In the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles, House Arrest, and Let Me Down Easy. Twilight: Los Angeles was nominated for two Tony Awards. Fires in the Mirror was runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize.