Already closed | 2h 15m | Midtown W

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, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if Thought it was thoughtful and important - for someone looking to be challenged and engaged

Don't see it if you're looking for entertainment - this isn't frothy

Thought-provoking, Clever, Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You're interested in lighting and scenic design. The sets in this show were so simple but so astonishing at the same time.

Don't see it if You're not into very serious theatre. This show had heavy stuff at times, so, if you're into more of a light show, this may not be for you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You want to experience the failings of our justice system and the bigotry of our society on the ground

Don't see it if If you have a picture of Steve Bannon , Kellyann Conway , Ted Cruz, the KKK , NeoNazi on your wall Actually, see it anyway

Profound, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in current events and civil rights.

Don't see it if you do not like the use of tech (lights, video recording, moving parts) on stage.

Relevant, Resonant, Profound, Intelligent, Masterful

See it if You are interested in the school to prison pipeline as well as black lives matter issues

Don't see it if you dislike one person shows

Absorbing, Edgy, Great writing, Great acting, Relevant

See it if you want to be challenged...tough topic and very well done. See it if you want to have great conversation after, over dinner.

Don't see it if You want to laugh or sing along. Not that kinda show. She bring alive many difficult discussions and topics we face.

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You care about the obvious racial inequality in both our public educational system and prisons.

Don't see it if You only want to be entertained.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Clever, Powerful

See it if you care about justice, education, hope, race relations, history, the future of our country, excessive incarceration, inspired acting.

Don't see it if If everything I listed above doesn't matter to you and you just want froth and to escape from reality--and that's ok--then don't see this.

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Edgy, Ambitious

See it if you care about the inequities for black people you care about inequities for black children you care about justice you care about education

Don't see it if you hate

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Epic, Great staging

See it if If you like to be entertained.

Don't see it if Don't see if you don't like being entertained

During previews
Relevant, Resonant, Overrated, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You have been living under a rock and are unaware of the school to prison pipeline in our black communities. Being yelled at is OK with you

Don't see it if You are wanting to see a play. This is a lecture using drama technique and graphic photographs and text. Belaboring a point not OK with you

During previews
Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Ambitious, Depressing

See it if you want to see Ms. Smith display her craft and want to be exposed to intractable social problems.

Don't see it if you are looking for a narrative, rather than a lecture.

Also Admirable preaching to the choir.

During previews
Absorbing, Entertaining, Edgy, Great writing, Must see

See it if you have a pulse.She is AMAZING, as always.Do not miss this brilliant discussion of race issues. That sounds dull, but it is fascinating,fun

Don't see it if you are a racist. Or maybe you are exactly the person who NEEDS to see this.Seriously, she inhabits dozens of different characters.Great job

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant, Resonant

See it if Anna Deveare Smith = national treasure. She addresses a very real problem and shows the humanity of those involved.

Don't see it if Some of her characterizations fell into cliche. She offers no answers to the questions she poses.

During previews
Absorbing, Powerful, Great staging, Great acting, Important

See it if You like Deavere Smith. Are concerned about current events, education, and social justice.

Don't see it if Don't like solo performances or socially relevant theatre.

Also As fine a stage peice as she has ever produced. Thought-provoking, gut... Read more Read less

During previews
Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You appreciate Anna Deavere Smith's style of interview inspired explorations of relevant social issues.

Don't see it if You are looking for a more traditional narrative plot driven drama.

During previews
Absorbing, Profound, Intense, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you enjoy preachy lectures; current events; 1 woman shows;

Don't see it if you expect a real play; you dislike going to the theater and getting a college lecture

Also Ms. Smith is a brilliant stage artist but this is not really a play - ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if you love your theatre smart and current. ADS is superb and thoroughly engaging.

Don't see it if you don't like one actor shows about topical events/ideas

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Thought-provoking, Powerful

See it if you appreciate fantastic performances, especially with empathetic insight in police brutality school-to-prison pipelines

Don't see it if The masterful performance is worth seeing, even if you wouldn't usually like one-woman news-generated shows.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound

See it if You want to a master crafts woman embody provocative and important witnesses to critical problems our society had to confront and address

Don't see it if You'd rather avoid thinking about the future of this country and are willing to miss seeing one of the supreme actors and interpreters of Am

During previews
Ambitious, Intelligent, Masterful, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you care about issues like racial justice, education, policing, the school to prison pipeline, etc. or you want to learn about them.

Don't see it if you want to see a highly optimistic or uplifting show, you want to see a play (this is more vignettes but with a coherent structure).

During previews
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Masterful, Profound

See it if Anna Deavere Smith is one of our greatest and most underrated actresses! This play is a must see to understand the current race culture.

Don't see it if You are sensitive to violence or don't enjoy learning about black culture in America.

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Riveting, Intelligent

See it if enjoy good acting, writing and thought provoking theater. Anne Devere Smith is brilliant.

Don't see it if don't like serious drama.

During previews
Gratuitous cellist, Great acting, Great writing, Profound, Resonant

See it if You like the work of actor/journalists and timely & resonant reporting w/ tremendous characters. You like Ms. Smith's work & one-woman shows

Don't see it if Don't want to be subjected to recounts of recent police brutality and racial inequality. Onewoman shows should be w/o cellist scene partner

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy intelligent and topical theater

Don't see it if You don't want to be challenged - or can't handle disturbing dialogue or images

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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