Wednesday, November 10

A Bit of Culture - Last night, Kevin and I went to the Mondavi Center at UC-Davis to see a lecture by acclaimed playwright, actress, scholar Anna Deavere Smith. A former Stanford professor better known as national security adviser Nancy McNally on The West Wing, Smith has written a play and book Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, that was selected as the 2004 Campus Community Book Project.

Known for her show's unusual staging, Smith reenacted actual interviews and inhabited the personas of real people, both known and unknown, during the performance. She revisited her experiences in LA following the 1992 Rodney King riots. While the content was heavy, the tone was often less serious, allowing the audience to laugh as she adopted the voice and mannerisms of figures as diverse as Margaret Mead and a bullrider from Idaho. Especially in light of last week's election, the performance served as a reminder of the importance of listening. The audience did have an opportunity to ask questions, but no one took advantage of the opportunity ask Smith her opinion of the truly awful bangs sported by the WW's new Deputy NSA.