Notes from the Field



Anna Deavere Smith's extraordinary form of documentary theater shines a light on injustices by portraying the real-life people who have experienced them. In Notes from the Field, she renders a host of figures who have lived and fought the system that pushes students of color out of the classroom and into prisons. (As Smith has put it: "Rich kids get mischief, poor kids get pathologized and incarcerated.") Using people's own words, culled from interviews and speeches, Smith depicts Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, who eulogized Freddie Gray; Niya Kenny, a high school student who confronted a violent police deputy; activist Bree Newsome, who took the Confederate flag down from the South Carolina State House grounds; and many others. Their voices bear powerful witness to a great iniquity of our time--and call us to action with their accounts of resistance and hope.

Product Details

$15.95  $14.67
Anchor Books
Publish Date
May 21, 2019
5.1 X 0.7 X 7.9 inches | 0.45 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, teacher, playwright, and the creator of the acclaimed On the Road series of one-woman plays, which are based on her interviews with diverse voices from communities in crisis. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal from President Obama and two Obie Awards, her work also been nominated for a Pulitzer and two Tonys. Onscreen, she has appeared in many films and television shows, including Philadelphia, The West Wing, Black-ish, and Nurse Jackie. She is University Professor in the department of Art & Public Policy at NYU, where she also directs the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue. In 2019, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


"Invaluable. . . . Absorbing. . . . Dazzling." --The New York Times

"Deeply moving. . . . Dazzling stagecraft meets dazzling spectacle. . . . Magnificent. . . . Wonderful." --Newsday

"Moving. . . . Smith is an effective and supremely talented conduit." --Los Angeles Times

"Anna Deavere Smith has created one of her most ambitious and powerful works on how matters of race continue to divide and enslave the nation." --Variety

"Devastating. . . . Astonishing. . . . Unquestionably great theater." --Vulture

"Brilliant. . . . Anna Deavere Smith may be the most empathetic person in America." --HuffPost

"[A] masterpiece. . . . Smith's powerful style of living journalism uses the collective, cathartic nature of the theater to move us from despair toward hope." --The Village Voice

"Urgently timely. . . . Audacious and mind-opening." --Time Out New York

"This is captivating political theatre, a devastating document of racial inequality and the most rousing of rallying calls. Everyone should watch it." --The Guardian

"A tour de force. . . . A coruscating indictment of the school-to-prison pipeline." --Financial Times

"Stirring. . . . Powerful. . . . The scope is almost Shakespearean: the voices range from policy professionals to people on the street. If there's an overarching thrust . . . it lies in the suggestion that the struggle for civil rights is ongoing: the legacy of segregation, its trauma too, endures and reasserts itself." --The Telegraph (London)