Latest News

Review: Anna Deavere Smith’s ‘Notes From the Field’ Delivers Voices of Despair and Hope

Just listen, if you would, to how she listens.

That may sound like an odd way to invoke what Anna Deavere Smith does in “Notes From the Field,” her wonderfully energizing new performance piece about the cursed intersection of two American institutions, the school and the prison, in a racially divided nation. After all, Ms. Smith talks practically nonstop in the show, which opened on Wednesday night at Second Stage Theater.

But Ms. Smith speaking is, implicitly, Ms. Smith listening, paying scrupulous attention to the varied people she embodies with such precision. Though her command of different voices is what’s most obviously dazzling in theatrical terms, that mimetic talent wouldn’t count for much if it didn’t make us share the intent focus she brings to her subjects.