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Embodying Hybridity: Anna Deavere Smith’s Identity Cross-Overs

Abstract : Anna Deavere Smith’s embodiment of a series of characters offers a postmodern version of performing hybridity. Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Other Identities and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, created in the early 1990s, brought her fame across the United States most obviously because they provided an artistic answer to the racial tensions that had sparked urban riots in New York City and Los Angeles. By performing groups and individuals from different communities on her single body, she not only confronted various points of view, she involved the art of theater in the decoding, interrogating, and possible reconstruction of multifaceted American identities. Both plays were the culmination of Smith’s long-term project “On the Road: A Search for American Character,” started in 1982 (Richards 1993: 35) to the extent that they were the high-water mark of her popularity. They placed her on the artistic map as a major African American performance artist whose unique verbatim style served to address crucial social issues.
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Contributor : Xavier Lemoine <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 7:17:59 PM
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Xavier Lemoine. Embodying Hybridity: Anna Deavere Smith’s Identity Cross-Overs. Anne Crémieux; Xavier Lemoine; Jean-Paul Rocchi. Understanding Blackness Through Performance: Contemporary Arts and the Representation of Identity, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.237-261, 2013, 978-1137325075. ⟨10.1057/9781137313805_14⟩. ⟨hal-01548651⟩



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