217 Becoming Someone Else

Anna Deavere Smith • Friday Morning
LOCATION: DIPLOMAT ROOM

Ann Deavere Smith

Both therapists and actors depend on using focused attention and empathy to take in the complexity and nuance of human experience. In this workshop, you’ll learn to take in the personalities and painful stories of others without losing yourself. Guided by an award-winning actress and playwright who trained herself to achieve the emotional balance that’s also at the heart of being a skilled therapist, you’ll learn how to:

  • Achieve presence—a kind of confidence, capacity for focus, and ability to deeply engage others
  • Hold your own space and control the space around you to draw in and evoke authentic responses from others
  • Extend your powers of empathy by cultivating the imaginative capacity to be someone else, especially someone with a personality quite different from your own

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress and playwright whose prizes include the MacArthur fellowship, the Gish Prize, and two Tony nominations. She’s appeared in several movies and TV shows, including Nurse Jackie, The West Wing, Rachel Getting Married, and Philadelphia.

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