Mobilized by pre-war anxieties, post-war disillusionment and the need to define the new world order, American theatre took an important turn with the rise of influential modernist styles (such as neo-realism, naturalism, expressionism, impressionism, the theatre of the absurd, Dadaism, surrealism to name only a few) during the first half of the twentieth century. The following decades witnessed the emergence of new theatre groups and playwrights of diversity beyond the established tradition as well as extensive theatrical experimentation. With the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, political tensions across the country reached an intense degree. Theatre practitioners and critics felt the need to redefine their art form in this new context. Diverse theatrical groups (Open Theatre, Living Theatre, Bread and Puppet Theatre) that emerged in the early 1960s attempted to devote themselves to new voices with new ways of communication arising from verbal and non-verbal gestures in vivid scenes that identified the image of man in a high-technology culture with his fears and hopes in the currents of global chaos. A search for a new narrative technique that could free dramatists from the restrictions of the dialogic way of communication produced alternative narrative techniques.
As a contemporary American playwright, Anna Deavere Smith is one of the most important contributors to the transformation of American Theater into American Performance. Anna Deavere Smith’s selected solo-performances, Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, Let me Down Easy emphasize acting as representing being. This study is intended to focus on the recent development of discourse used in contemporary American drama as well as on the diversity of voices reflected in Anna Deavere Smith’s solo-performances, Fires in the Mirror, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, and Let me Down Easy.