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An Encounter With Anna Deavere Smith

Attending the Smith/ Bell talk was a wonderful experience. Anna Deavere Smith talked about her process in creating the pieces. She is fascinated in the breaks of people’s speaking patterns. When they search for a word, it is a window inside their mind. She mixes in questions to provoke these reactions, observing their mannerism and how they change. She does not believe she is the character or try to relate them to herself. She presents portraits of people, rather than mimicry.

I really find connections between Anna Deavere Smith’s work and Chapter 3 of Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit in this chapter, Tharp has an exercise called “The Street Scene,” which calls for the artist to observe as many details as possible from a random couple of people on the street. I made a connection between this and Anna Deavere Smith’s work because

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