Anna Deavere Smith

Utne Reader visionary [Originally published as Anna Deavere Smith in the January-February 1995 issue of Utne Reader]

| January/February 1995

An actress, playwright, and performance artist, Smith gives split personalities a good name. In her one-person shows, described as “a voice” formed from the “juxtaposition of other voices,” she plays a panoply of characters based on her interviews with the people who inspired them. In Smiths Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and other Identities and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, she embodies a broad range of perspectives that revolve around the ignitable crux of race and class. She is the Ann ODay Maples Professor of the Arts at Stanford University.