In the News

Still, when Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, an institution co-founded by W.B. Yeats that hosted that first production of the play, announces a new production to coincide with the centenary of the Easter Rising, there’s a palpable whiff of history in the air. And when the director happens to be an Englishman, and someone who’s been busily seeking to explode certain conventions of the British theater, the result is certain to be...complicated...The resulting production, which runs through Oct. 9 at the American Repertory Theater, isn’t burdened by fashionable but awkward conceits and doesn’t aim to turn the source text on its head. But neither is it a reverent rehash.
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Anna Deavere Smith is a riveting veteran stage educator. Her latest and equally timely original theater text “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education”— seamlessly directed by Leonard Foglia at American Repertory Theatre—not only ranges as before back and forth between participants and observers in a documentary-like piece but also includes an intriguing interactive 25-minute middle section calling on audience members to listen to and teach each other through questions, answers and comments.
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In “Notes from the Field,” Smith has created a stunningly nuanced, inventive, and emotionally resonant investigation of how the country values the lives of young people of color.
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Smith transitions gracefully and convincingly between characters, with enough humor mixed in to keep the material from pushing the audience to despondency.
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The overall effect of this play is stunning and deeply moving - moving one to tears at an emotional level and moving each individual to want to find a way to make a difference.
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Marshalling her considerable creative forces and once again singlehandedly conjuring a wildly diverse array of characters, Anna Deavere Smith schools us from the front lines of education vs.race in these not yet United States.
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This is an important piece of political theatre, well played and directed that has a great deal to say about the problems caused by unequal education. It is thought provoking, engrossing, and entertaining.
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About midway through the first act of “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education” – Anna Deavere Smith’s emotionally stunning, outrage-inspiring but ultimately hopeful one-woman theatrical performance on the devastating societal effects of the school-to-prison pipeline – I found myself wondering how an audience that was not primarily composed of “serious” theatergoers (in Cambridge, no less) would have received the impactful material.
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Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education is so much more than a "One Woman Show." 
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Theater needs an audience to fulfill its mission, to engage with the entertainment being produced on the stage.
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