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Notes From the Field

From 121 member reviews
Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

About the show

Second Stage Theatre presents acclaimed solo artist Anna Deavere Smith's new documentary show about people impacted by America’s school-to-prison pipeline. More…

'Notes from the Field' depicts the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers, and administrators caught in our country's school-to-prison pipeline. Investigating a justice system that pushes minors from poor communities out of the classroom and into incarceration, Smith's solo show shines a light on a lost generation of American youth. Drawn from interviews with more than 200 people living and working within a challenged system, Anna Deavere Smith continues her mastery of documentary solo performance by stimulating awareness and, ultimately, change.

Member Reviews (121)


Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent
Avg Score

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if you want an intelligent perspective of what is and what needs to change to have equal education and opportunity those that don't

Don't see it if The only negative is that she is talking to a receptive audience., one that is aware of and agrees with her positions

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Masterful

See it if you love expansive, empathetic portrayals of complicated topics, as seen through the eyes of one of the true genius artists of our time.

Don't see it if you should see this show. She's a transcendently great performer, and this show could not be more timely and urgent.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Profound, Must see, Masterful

See it if You love documentary theater that forces you to think. You like examining politics and culture through an emotional lens.

Don't see it if You prefer shows with linear plots or don't like plays using real people and real words. You don't like one-woman shows.

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you care about social issues, particularly education, and want to see a tour de force performance by a skilled actor.

Don't see it if you're looking for escape/entertainment. This is for thinking/feeling/caring human beings.

Ambitious, Great acting, Masterful

See it if A true master class in acting and empathy. Important and resonant subject matter presented effectively. Well-researched and thoughtful.

Don't see it if 2+ hrs + intermission was a little too long and may have undermined the coherence of the show, making certain parts feel somewhat disjointed

Absorbing, Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if A great performance that will raise your consciousness about issues most American theatergoers will never personally confront

Don't see it if You think Trump will make America great again.

Absorbing, Great acting, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy stunning acting w/multiple characters w/a lot of dialogue focused on social/racial/education/policy brutality issues

Don't see it if you don't like 1 person shows, want to be entertained rather than informed & don't like thought provoking socially sensitive productions

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like current events. Performance and stories are excellent. It was unexpectly a good theater night.

Don't see it if you don't want to feel or think. If you have no interest in political and social views.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if You are a fan of Anna Deaver Smith like her solo shows where she plays many characters,you care about politics, social justice ,education

Don't see it if You aren't interested in the relation of poor education for minorities and the prison system

Exquisite, Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Edgy

See it if Fortunately,i have been aware of her work for several years.I was able to tell her that I saw TWILIGHT twice.This performance was awesome.

Don't see it if If you are a person who has their head in the sand.It is brutally honest about America's racial problems.She presents the facts.Draw your

Also conclusions for yourself.

Great acting, Masterful, Relevant, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You want to explore relevant issues of racism, education, and the prison system performed by a brilliant actor.

Don't see it if You don't want to think about these issues.

Also Anna Deavere Smith portrays 17 people and you'd swear they were all on... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great performance, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy engaging topical theater pieces. Smith is a master at inhabiting her characters.If you're interested in this provocative topic.

Don't see it if you're want a story driven play. Based on today's hard headlines and is built on actual conversations and interviews. Don't like solo shows

Also Smith is a brilliant performer and master of pulling together actual w... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Edgy

See it if you like tothink and be educated

Don't see it if you don't want to be reminded of some of thechallenges & problems in America

Ambitious, Intelligent, Masterful, Must see, Intense

See it if You want to see genius at work. You care about the world we live in. You think theatre matters.

Don't see it if You're looking for touristy fluff.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful story-telling, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if U want to look beyond the video clips of racial unrest and see a fuller picture. Deavere-Smith is a master at creating compelling narrative

Don't see it if U are not up for a play that examines the troubling issues of education vs incarceration that we see in the news. You don't like solo plays.

Great acting, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be enlightened and challenged while at theater This is a moving tour de force!

Don't see it if You prefer "light and fluffly!"

Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant

See it if I'd read Anna Deavere Smith before, and found that she's magnetic live on stage. Not a huge crier- sobbed throughout the second act.

Don't see it if Price prohibitive for many viewers.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Masterful, Relevant, Great acting

See it if at the risk of stereotyping, you R a typical white theatergoer who isn't exposed to/hasn't thought much about these interconnected issues.

Don't see it if a 1-woman, nonfiction show isn't what you had in mind. This is information/advocacy 1st & entertainment 2nd, great acting notwithstanding.

Also You need to be open to hearing about (or already have some understandi... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Intense

See it if You are a fan of Anna Deveare Smith, like one-person shows based on real life struggles, and are politically engaged.

Don't see it if You are looking for action or adventure, and don't like non-fiction performance.

Also This was a little more disjointed than some of Smith's previous shows ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Must see, Thought-provoking

See it if you like theater that is inspiring; have an interest in education and race issues in the U.S.

Don't see it if you are looking for a large cast and traditional story line.

Ambitious, Intense, Relevant

See it if You appreciate one-woman original shows with an extremely talent actress playing several roles AND you like current events depicted onstage.

Don't see it if You don't like confrontation.

Absorbing, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You want to witness an amazing performance by a master actor and writer. She plays real-life people and tells stories of currrent events.

Don't see it if You don't want to think deeply about our country's divide by race and social class. Not compelled by issues of civil rights and education.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you like pieces that comment on important issues in society, you want to see AMAZING transitional acting from one SINGLE woman.

Don't see it if you don't care for pieces suggesting activism or change, one person shows are not in your taste, you want something traditional.

Also Anna Deavere Smith's acting in this piece is phenomenal and a bit star... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Profound, Relevant, Must see

See it if You want to see a tour de force by a brilliant actress who portrays multiple characters dealing with issues of race and class in America.

Don't see it if You are not a fan of one woman shows or don't want to spend your evening thinking about political issues and would rather relax in a musical

Ambitious, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Resonant

See it if You love political theater. You love Anna Deavere Smith.

Don't see it if You want to have an enjoyable night at the theater. Very heavy subject matter.

Also This show is so important and Anna Deavere Smith is a genius, but I wo... Read more Read less

November 2nd, 2016
"Though her command of different voices is what’s most obviously dazzling in theatrical terms, that mimetic talent wouldn’t count for much if it didn’t make us share the intent focus she brings to her subjects...That’s what makes Ms. Smith so invaluable. She creates a dialogue out of monologues a...
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November 2nd, 2016
"In the audacious and mind-opening 'Notes from the Field,' Anna Deavere Smith delves into poverty, police brutality, mass incarceration and educational failure. Even as she shifts, with almost insouciant skill, among 17 characters of different sexes and races, she never disappears...Her probing i...
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November 2nd, 2016
"Each segment — well, maybe one or two are less riveting than the others — is fairly astonishing, with apt climaxes and startling kickers. The overall argument, too, is theatrically structured, moving from abstractions to specifics and from causes to results to a form of transcendence...In a way,...
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November 2nd, 2016
"She portrays dozens of real-life figures with dazzling, chameleon-like versatility...There are many powerful moments in the show...Despite the performer's skills and the vital importance of the social issues discussed, 'Notes from the Field' proves too diffuse to have the intended impact. The pi...
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