I had the good fortune yesterday to see a preview performance of this extraordinary woman’s new show Let Me Down Easy. Anna Deavere Smith embodies over 20 different characters and

…explores the power of the body, the price of health, and the resilience of the spirit. (from the 2nd Stage Theatre website)

I found myself falling in love not only with each of the characters she portrayed, but also the performer who had memorized verbatim the taped conversation of her subjects. The Playbill and set design stress this fact so the audience understands that the um’s, stammers and tics are authentic to the real person being represented–the likes of Lance Armstrong, Lauren Hutton, Ann Richards as well as medical and spiritual professionals and others.

What enriched this opportunity tenfold was a New York Times Magazine article about Smith and this show in yesterday’s paper. It articulated to me what I had so appreciated. The interviewer questions Ms. Smith on her “excruciating attention to detail” and asked if it was necessary and for whose benefit.

“It matters a lot that I get every ‘I mean,'” she answered. “That’s the crux of my project. What my work is, is my approach to it. It’s the practice. And my work is about the effort that I make to get there. And I think if there’s anything artistic, it’s in that middle space.”

Oh, how I loved reading that! It’s how I see myself–that all of my practices: meditation, spiritual work, journaling, attention to a macrobiotic diet, prayer, daily readings, yoga, punctuality–are the foundation for my coaching and speaking. That is the ‘effort’ I make to be successful.


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