Deveare Smith Visits – and Inhabits – Austin

The Zachary Scott Theatre Center is hosting a special performance by Anna Deveare Smith in which she'll present theatrical portraits of select Austinites

Deveare Smith Visits – and Inhabits – Austin

Last summer, House Arrest showed us Anna Deveare Smith's search for the American character in the White House. Now, her search is continuing in Austin. The Zachary Scott Theatre Center is bringing the probing theatre artist and educator to town for a special performance in which she'll present theatrical portraits of select local citizens drawn from interviews she'll conduct here. As in House Arrest and her signature works Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities and Twilight: Los Angeles, these Violet Crown portraits will feature Deveare Smith transforming herself into subjects she has interviewed, using their words, their voices, their gestures, their mannerisms, to share insights into their individual lives and our national life.

Count on this singular theatre-maker to offer excerpts from her best-known plays during An Evening With Anna Deavere Smith, set for Saturday, Feb. 12, 8pm, on Zach's Kleberg Stage. But also expect those in attendance that night to be most eagerly awaiting those onstage re-creations of our own. (As witnessed by the whoops and hollers that greeted Ann Richards, as portrayed by Karen Kuykendall, in nearly every performance of House Arrest at Zach.)

Speaking of the governor, we'll likely get to see Deveare Smith's take on her in the program, which Gov. Richards is hosting, along with Chula Reynolds (a friend of Deveare Smith's, who helped arrange and sponsor the performance), Molly Ivins, Eddie Safady, and Evan Smith, who – need it be said? – is no relation to the theatre artist. Safady will also host a private brunch for Deveare Smith at his elegant Congress Avenue digs on the morning after her Evening – for sponsorship information, call Michele Scherz at 476-0594 x260 – but then she's back at Zach in the afternoon to lead a workshop for actors on the creation of character and context from interviews, using techniques from her own work. This event is being designed by Deveare Smith and Zach Artistic Director Dave Steakley in preparation for Zach's upcoming original production, Keepin' It Weird, for which Steakley and others have been conducting interviews with hundreds of Austinites. For information on the workshop, call Zach production manager Shannon Richey at 476-0594 x242.

Tickets to the Feb. 12 performance, which will be followed by a discussion with the audience, are $35-55, with $10 student rush tickets available one hour before curtain. For more information, call 476-0541 x1 or visit

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