House Arrest: A Search for American Character in and Around the White House, Past and Present ; And, Piano : Two Plays

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Anchor Books, 2004 - Drama - 281 pages
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From the award-winning actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, two teeming, pungent cross-sections of the American experience.

In the provocative and at times bitterly funny play House Arrest, Smith examines the relationships between a succession of American presidents and their observers in and out of the press. Arcing from Clinton and Monica Lewinsky to Jefferson and Sally Hemings and alive with the voices of such real-life figures as Ed Bradley, George Stephanopoulos, Anita Hill, and Abraham Lincoln, the result is a priceless examination of the intersection of public power and private life.

In Piano, Smith casts her gaze back a century as she follows the tangled lines of race, sex, and exploitation in a prosperous Cuban household on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Deftly and suspensefully, Smith tells a story of ruptured allegiances and ramifying deceptions in which no one—master or servant, friend or enemy—is what he or she pretends to be. Together these two plays are further proof that Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most searing and revelatory voices in the American theater.

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House arrest: a search for American character in and around the White House, past and present; and Piano: two plays

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One of theater's most noted monologists-a small clique that includes John Leguizamo-Smith chronicled manifestations of urban rage on both coasts in Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and Fires in the ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Anna Deavere Smith is an actor, a teacher, a playwright, and the creator of an acclaimed series of one-woman plays based on her interviews with diverse voices from communities in crisis. She has won two Obie Awards, two Tony nominations for her play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, and a MacArthur Fellowship, and she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play Fires in the Mirror. She has had roles in the films Philadelphia, An American President, and The Human Stain, and she has worked in television on The Practice, Presidio Med, and The West Wing. She is the founder and director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue and is a University Professor at New York University, with an appointment in the Tisch School of the Arts and an affiliation with the School of Law.

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