In case you haven't already heard, Anna Deavere Smith returns to Berkeley Rep next Wednesday for a limited encore presentation of Let Me Down Easy. And just yesterday, she published a fascinating essay in the Huffington Post about her 2005 trip to Africa to research her show, particularly around the HIV/AIDS crisis.
While she was in Africa, Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. She later conducted interviews with people in New Orleans, including Dr. Kiersta Kurtz-Burke, whose monologue is one of the most affecting in the show. While Anna says that much of the interviews she conducted in Africa did not make it into the version of the show we see now, her Huffington Post essay offers, among her own personal observations, excerpts of interviews with two AIDS activists. She says their words "still play like music in my ears."
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