Anna Deavere Smith, known for her roles in "Nurse Jackie" and "The West Wing," portrays 20 different people of all ages, genders and ethnicities in her play "Let Me Down Easy." She'll present the one-woman work at the Lincoln Theatre as part of the Wexner Center season.

Anna Deavere Smith, known for her roles in "Nurse Jackie" and "The West Wing," portrays 20 different people of all ages, genders and ethnicities in her play "Let Me Down Easy." She'll present the one-woman work at the Lincoln Theatre as part of the Wexner Center season.

On the surface, the play is about health care in the United States. But Smith said in a 2009 interview with NPR that to her, it is a study of "the resilience of the human body on the one hand, the vulnerability on the other and the inevitability we don't live forever."

Smith constructed the play using the words, gestures, accents and idiosyncrasies of people she has interviewed, which creates a broad spectrum of unfiltered viewpoints.

Some of the people she brings to life - bicyclist Lance Armstrong, playwright Eve Ensler, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, movie critic Joel Siegel - are familiar to us. But others, such as a rodeo bull rider and various doctors and patients, are as everyday as we are.

Smith tends to choose topics with inherent drama, such as the racial tensions in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991 or the riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles. Illness, mortality and how we deal with them - it doesn't get much more dramatic than that.