Anna Deavere Smith breathed life into several characters during her lecture/performance at Syracuse University on Tuesday afternoon. She almost perfectly embodied the conversational cadence and idioms of former Gov. Anne Richards, Rep. John Lewis and theologian Peter Gomes for about an hour.
Maybe her most impressive role was portraying prisoner Paulette Jenkins for a piece called “Mirror to her Mouth”. This sobering tale, filled with domestic violence, murder and regret, moved the crowd toward an almost religious silence.