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Let Me Down Easy at Berkeley Rep

Anna Deavere Smith at Berkeley Rep. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Written and acted by the incomparable Anna Deavere Smith, Let Me Down Easy is an exquisite show about the human body - the feats it can endure and the ways it breaks down. 

If you’re prone to inhaling episodes of The West Wing, you probably recognize Smith, but she’s also a big darn theater deal. An unparalleled performer, Obie award-winner, and finalist for the Pulitzer, Smith trained locally, receiving her MFA at American Conservatory Theatre and working with Berkeley Rep in the early days. 

Hoping to spark conversation about America’s healthcare system, Smith traveled to South Africa, Germany, and across the United States for Let Me Down Easy, weaving hundreds of interviews into a compelling portrait of the vulnerablity of our bodies, the buoyancy of our spirits, and what caring for both entails. Smith portrays rodeo riders, doctors, and prize fighters - as well as famous cyclist Lance Armstrong, supermodel Lauren Hutton, and former Texas Governor Ann Richards - inhabiting her own body as if she was inhabiting theirs. 

Let Me Down Easy has been heavily spackled with well-deserved praise - called magical, stunning, and brilliant by publications like The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and NBC’s Today. If you're going to see a show this year, see this one. 

Through September 4. Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $49-95 at 510-647-2949 or berkeleyrep.org.