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During opening night of Let Me Down Easy at the Lyceum, a woman in the upstairs section would not stop laughing. Even when angry heads turned her way she kept on. But what Anna Deavere Smith does on stage, though often funny, treats one of the most serious subjects of all. The excellent piece - which closes Sunday, May 15 (unfortunately before word of mouth can spread) - is about the body, death and dying. What might have set the woman off, stimulants aside, was what Ernest Becker, in The Denial of Death, calls "the vital lie": a refusal to face the fact of our mortality. Let Me Down moves from denial to various forms of acceptance. Smith took her audience places, gracefully, many may not have wanted to go.

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Arts Off Broadway May 16, 2011 @ 2:40 a.m.

Anna Deavere Smith performed 20 different characters in less than two hours and is amazing with dialects.

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