House Arrest and Piano: Two Plays
About this book
From the award-winning actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, two teeming, pungent cross-sections of the American experience.In the provocative and at times bitterly funny play House Arrest, Smith examines the relationships between a succession of American presidents and their observers in and out of the press. Arcing from Clinton and Monica Lewinsky to Jefferson and Sally Hemings and alive with the voices of such real-life figures as Ed Bradley, George Stephanopoulos, Anita Hill, and Abraham Lincoln, the result is a priceless examination of the intersection of public power and private life.In Piano, Smith casts her gaze back a century as she follows the tangled lines of race, sex, and exploitation in a prosperous Cuban household on the eve of the Spanish-American War. Deftly and suspensefully, Smith tells a story of ruptured allegiances and ramifying deceptions in which no one—master or servant, friend or enemy—is what he or she pretends to be. Together these two plays are further proof that Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most searing and revelatory voices in the American theater.
A mixed collection. Piano had a great premise - bring together as many disparate peoples in Cuba and watch the conflict unfold (beautifully told, though the ending disappoints). House Arrest, on the other hand, is not worth reading. It feels forced - she tried to use the same formula for writing it as her previous two plays but this one falls apart. The monologues feel increasingly disjointed and the ending is bewildering.