In Smart People, Lydia R. Diamond shows that no matter how well we think we understand the influence of race on human interaction, it still manages to get in the way of genuine communication and connection. This funny and thought-provoking play gives us four characters all associated with Harvard: a young African American actress cleaning houses and doing odd jobs to pay the bills until her recently earned M.F.A. starts to pay off; a Chinese and Japanese American psychology professor studying race and identity in Asian American women; an African American surgical intern; and a white professor of neuroscience with a shocking hypothesis, researching the way that our racial perceptions are formed. As their relationships evolve, the four discover that their motivations and interpretations are not as pure as their wealth of knowledge would have them believe. As in all of her work, Diamond brings a sharp wit and a subtle intelligence to bear on questions that never cease to trouble us as individuals and as a society.
LYDIA R. DIAMOND is the author of Stick Fly (Northwestern, 2008), produced on Broadway in 2011, nominated in 2012 for an Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Play, and winner of the 2010 LA Critics Circle Award for Playwriting, among other prizes. Her other plays include The Bluest Eye, The Gift Horse, Harriet Jacobs (Northwestern, 2011), The Inside, Stage Black, and Voyeurs de Venus. A former Radcliffe Institute Fellow and a graduate of Northwestern University, she has taught at Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, Loyola University, and Boston University.
"Seldom do contemporary American plays tap so directly into the cultural conversation as it’s happening."—David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"Writing with wit, verve, a shrewd eye for portraiture and an equally shrewd ear for the tells and giveaways of invidious racial assumptions, Diamond has created a quartet of complex, flawed, intriguing, and, yes, smart people." —Boston Globe
"A sexy, serious, and very, very funny modern-day comedy of manners." —Variety
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