Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let Me Down Easy

3 of many portrayals by Anna Deavere Smith

The Philadelphia Theatre Company, housed in the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad and Lombard Streets, is presenting Let Me Down Easy, conceived, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith, through April 10. Using the results of over 300 interviews, Ms. Smith has been able to weave a brilliant one-woman show. Appearing to change her nationality, gender and age with little more than a flick of a jacket, hat, facial expression and accent, Ms. Smith convinces the audience that she embodies each individual portrayed as she speaks about the tragedies of the poor during Katrina, health issues and the ultimate issue of death. Large supertitles above the stage light up the name of each character as well as a key phrase of the discussion. The audience was enthralled watching Ms. Smith’s many transformations, among them a rodeo Bull Rider; a super model; Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas; Joel Siegel, Movie Critic for ABC news; Trudy Howell, director  of Chance Orphanage in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist Monk. Philadelphia Theatre Company has created three Meet the Experts post-show talkbacks with special guests to address the themes of health care and public health to enhance the theater experience during its production of Let Me Down Easy. -On Thursday March 24, with Rabbi and Professor Nancy Epstein-On Tuesday March 29 with Dr Jonathon D. Moreno, David and Lyn Silfen University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Thursday April 7 with Dr. Natasha J. Davis, Assistant Professor at Temple University College of Health Professions and Social Work.  There will be a variety of other special programs as well. For more information and tickets, call 215-985-0420 or visit online at

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