Meg Gibson on Portraying the Renowned Anthropologist Margaret Mead

[ 0 ] September 3, 2014 |

This past May, actress, director and author Anna Deavere Smith directed a public forum called ‘Talking About Race: Science, Politics, Art 1950–1970–2014.” Directed in a documentary style of theater, Smith started out each night with performances from CBS Newsman Mike Wallace’s 1959 interview with playwright Lorraine Hansberry about the success of “A Raisin in the Sun” and Margaret Mead’s 1970 “A Rap On Race” with James Baldwin.

WATCH as Meg Gibson talks with genConnect on portraying world-renowned anthropologist and women’s rights activist Margaret Mead, and race in America:

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“Not only am I tackling race, I’m tackling playing the role of Margaret Mead,” says Gibson about her role in Smith’s public forum. Gibson performed parts of Mead’s co-authored book A Rap On Race, which consists of a fictional conversation on a tape recorder between Mead and co-author James Baldwin.

moEJvn66cDiwF3rhRUekYxwGibson recalls her childhood growing up in New Jersey and, while she was aware of race, she never really felt like a minority. It wasn’t until she moved to Washington Heights in New York City that she realized how race affected society.

WATCH: Anna Deavere Smith – Talking About Race Through Performance

“It was a really important experience for me,” reflects Gibson. “For the first time, in my life I experienced being a minority.” While Gibson knows her experience was nothing like what other minorities felt during times like the Civil Rights movement, she still understood the feeling of being alone.

Over time, Gibson became more accepted by the dominant Latino community of the neighborhood. People were less afraid of her presence and in return she became more comfortable. Gibson says that experience along with many other factors is what helped her connect to her role as Mead.

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About Meg Gibson: Meg Gibson is an actress for theater, television, and film. She played Margaret Mead in Anna Deavere Smith’s documentary-theater-style production, “Talking About Race,” part of The Public Theater’s Public Forum series this past May, in [...]
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