Playwright/actor Anna Deavere Smith on TEDTalks

Anna Deavere Smith brings the TED audience to their feet as she brings to life a series of quintessential Americans. The chameleon-like Deavere Smith transforms herself in and out of character, as she embodies legendary author Studs Terkel, followed by convict Paulette Jenkins, a Korean merchant in Los Angeles after the ’92 riots, and finally a rodeo bull rider. The monologues — adapted verbatim from tape recordings — are drawn from interviews she conducted for “On the Road: A Search for American Character.” Each is a response to a probing question, such as, “What is a defining moment in history?” (Recorded February 2005 in Monterey, CA Duration: 23:50)

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