Anna Deavere Smith, an actress best known for her roles in “Nurse Jackie” and “The West Wing,” is scheduled to perform six times from tonight through Sunday. Ohio State students were offered free tickets to Wednesday’s performance.
Although she is known best as an actress, Smith will be appearing as a solo theater artist in her show “Let Me Down Easy.”
In this piece, Smith focuses on health care and its effects on the body. For the show, she conducted several interviews with people facing health problems and will reenact the interviews of 20 of those individuals.
Chuck Helm, director of performing arts at the Wexner Center, thinks the selection process Smith took on will be interesting.
“She interviewed over 300 to make (the play),” Helm said. “How she selected the particular 20 and why those stories would be somewhat important to her shows what she thinks the total picture reveals about the state of things, and how people are looking at these issues.”
Characters portrayed by Smith include athlete Lance Armstrong, rodeo star Brent Williams, “Vagina Monologues” creator Eve Ensler and others.
Helm also said that there will be a question-and-answer session with Smith following the play. He also said Smith will be at the Mershon Auditorium on Feb. 28 to “trade insights” with members of the Ohio State Medical Center.
The Office of Student Life offered free tickets to students through d-tix for Wednesday’s event. Those tickets have now sold out, though group ticket orders are still available.
Derek Coalter, an information specialist for d-tix, was surprised at how quickly the tickets ran out.
“We’re sold out,” Coalter said. “I believe we started with 200 or 300, and we ran out within four or five days.”
Group ticket orders, designed for resident hall advisers to take their residents to events or similar situations, were still available through d-tix as of Monday afternoon, however the Wexner Center does list the show as “sold out.”
“I expect a full house, which is 580 (people), on the day that the OSU students are offered tickets for free,” Helm said.
Beth Snoke, a director of transportation and parking services, said CABS will be offering a shuttle service for students going to Wednesday’s event from 6:15 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.
“They are going to pick up at the Ohio Union along 12th Avenue where the loop is,” Snoke said.
There will be four buses running during this time to help students get from the Ohio Union to the Lincoln Theatre. The Ohio Union Activities Board paid for the service.
Smith’s play will open tonight at 8 p.m. and will be showing every day until Sunday. This will be followed by her discussion with the medical center officials on Monday.
Smith was unavailable for comment.
Discount tickets for students are available for the other performances through the Wexner Center.
The Wexner Center for the Arts will present the play at The Lincoln Theatre.