Courtesy of 'Notes from the Field'
Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 250 people to write and perform her epic one-woman play, Notes from the Field.
Smith culled through 300 hours of interviews, choose 19 interviewees, selected segments of each, and performed each segment as the interviewee. She began work on this project in 2012, performed it as a one-woman show, and had it filmed for HBO. It premiered on February 24, 2018.
The central topic is the school-to-prison pipeline which has become an integral part of American society. The broader focus is on racism. The film juxtaposes Smith’s performances with archival footage of police abuse, riots, and protests.
Notes from the Field is stunning from beginning to end. Smith’s portrayal of 19 characters is the strongest single acting performance I have experienced to date.