Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: LET ME DOWN EASY is a Moving Contemplation of Health, Life, Sickness, and Death, at Profile Theatre

Review: LET ME DOWN EASY is a Moving Contemplation of Health, Life, Sickness, and Death, at Profile Theatre

Profile Theatre has me hooked on Anna Deavere Smith. The format of showcasing one (or, in recent years, more than one) playwright allows us as audience members to enter the work, take a tour, and start to understand the themes more deeply. Profile Theatre presented three of Smith's pieces this year, and I count the two of them that I saw among the best shows of the season -- not just Profile's season, but the whole Portland season.

LET ME DOWN EASY is a series of 20 monologues in Smith's signature style: monologues constructed verbatim from interviews. The interviews are from a wide variety of people, some famous (Lance Armstrong, Eve Ensler, Ann Richards) and others not (a rodeo bull rider, a doctor, Smith's aunt).

If you're wondering why you'd want to go see a play that's just a bunch of interviews, it's exactly because it's a bunch of interviews. Smith's approach highlights the incredible insights people gain from having an up-close-and-personal experience with something -- in this case life, health, sickness, and death. The realness is what makes it so powerful.

LET ME DOWN EASY is running in repertory with Lisa Kron's WELL, and these two pieces play very well in conversation. The same six actors are in both shows, and if you see them both, you'll recognize the breadth of talent on the stage. LET ME DOWN EASY brought out the best in all of them, as if playing real people, rather than created characters, allowed them to tap into a deeper well. I was particularly moved by Eleanor O'Brien (especially in her role of a doctor at New Orleans' Charity Hospital), Jennifer Lanier, and Michael Mendelson (who made me cry more than once).

Overall, I loved LET ME DOWN EASY. I recommend it very, very highly. I'd also like to put in my vote for another Anna Deavere Smith season.

LET ME DOWN EASY runs through June 16. More details and tickets here.

Photo credit: Brud Giles


BroadwayWorld Logo Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Portland Awards
Vote Nowvoting ends in



Latest Standings Released For The 2022 BroadwayWorld Portland Awards; Broadway Rose Theatr Photo
The latest standings as of Monday, December 5th, have been released for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Portland Awards! Nominations were reader-submitted and now our readers get to vote for their favorites.

Voting Now Open For The 2022 BroadwayWorld Portland Awards Photo
Voting is now open for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Portland Awards! Nominations were reader-submitted and now our readers get to vote for their favorites

Triangle Productions Opens ERMA BOMBECK: AT WITS END Opening Tomorrow Photo
Triangle Productions opens ERMA BOMBECK: AT WIT'S END tomorrow, running December 1 – 17th.

Bag&Baggage Productions Names Nik Whitcomb New Artistic Director Photo
Bag&Baggage now begins a new exciting chapter, ushered in by the appointment of their new Artistic Director Nik Whitcomb.


From This Author - Krista Garver


Review: KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD at Portland Center StageReview: KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD at Portland Center Stage
November 18, 2022

Amed with fabric, scissors, and a sewing machine, Kristina Wong goes to war against COVID with her squad of mask-sewing Aunties. Catch her show KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD at Portland Center Stage.

Review: KING OF THE YEES at Profile TheatreReview: KING OF THE YEES at Profile Theatre
November 9, 2022

KING OF THE YEES combines biting humor, keen social commentary, and the thrill of discovery into a touching and also wildly entertaining package.

Review: LAUGHING WILD at 21ten TheatreReview: LAUGHING WILD at 21ten Theatre
October 19, 2022

Through two unnamed characters – lonely people struggling to find purpose and connection – the play explores how fundamental empathy is to our existence. I give this production my absolute highest recommendation.

Review: THE RIPPLE, THE WAVE THAT CARRIED ME HOME at Portland Center StageReview: THE RIPPLE, THE WAVE THAT CARRIED ME HOME at Portland Center Stage
October 18, 2022

This beautiful play wraps a history lesson about the social justice movement of the 1960s in a poignant family drama. Also, the final scene is one of the most beautiful expressions of joy I've ever seen on stage.

Review: THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY at Profile TheatreReview: THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY at Profile Theatre
October 14, 2022

Kristoffer Diaz's play is one of those rare treats that is a heck of a lot of fun and also has something meaningful to say.