"SPLENDID! The Huntington cast is just superb."The Boston Globe
"EXCELLENT! Very impressive acting — they're all pretty sexy, too."WBUR
"Very, very funny and thought-provoking!"Jared Bowen, WGBH
"A brilliant marriage of writing and performance that makes for extremely satisfying theatre."South Shore Critic
"Great helpings of edgy wit, barbed humor. Provocative entertainment with great talent and stagecraft. Peter DuBois does a masterful job of direction."Berkshire Fine Arts
"Vastly entertaining!"
"Hip, sassy, and edgy comedy!Wicked Local

Are our beliefs and prejudices hard-wired into us? Four Harvard intellectuals – a doctor, an actress, a psychologist, and a neurobiologist studying the human brain’s response to race – search for love, success, and identity in a complex world. With barbed wit, Huntington Playwriting Fellow Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly) explores the inescapable nature of racism and other tricky topics in this controversial and fiercely funny new play that will be directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (Rapture, Blister, Burn and Sons of the Prophet).

"Quick-witted, wildly intelligent, and as entertaining as it is unsettling, Smart People is Lydia Diamond’s most ambitious play to date. Her debut play at the Huntington the wildly successful Stick Fly, was first and foremost about family dynamics, whereas Smart People is about big, controversial ideas. Yet the two share electrifying interpersonal relationships among surprising characters that infuse both stories with great humor and heart.” — Peter DuBois

What an outrageous honor – the luxury of returning to a theatre I’ve come to call home. I can think of no better place to launch my new play than within the smart, warm embrace of the Huntington. Smart People takes on big, risky ideas and lives in the world of risky questioning and flawed humanity. It is thrilling to have Peter DuBois at the helm of a ship that looks at huge, explosive ideas in nuanced and often humorous ways.”— Lydia R. Diamond


Promotional Partner:



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  • The Smart People Monologues

    Smart People opens with a cascade of overlapping monologues. Each character — Valerie, an actress; Brian, a neurobiologist; Jinny, a sociologist; and Jackson, a medical student — is in their professional element, a situation which is inevitably caught up in their class, race, and other markers of identity. As the play unfolds, Lydia R. Diamond reveals how each of the characters makes knee-jerk assumptions about the others; here, we give you a glimpse of the characters as you’ll meet them onstage.


  • Bias Is Not Black & White: Smart People & Implicit Social Cognition

    The cast of characters in Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People features two academics whose areas of study involve the ongoing complexities of racial stereotypes, especially the grey area of unconscious bias. Learn more about the real-life inspiration behind this science.


  • What's So Funny About Our Racist Brains?

    Even though everyone should know better, we have ample proof our knee-jerk, and sometimes uncomfortable, assumptions go deep into the national psyche. But in her new play, Smart People, Lydia R. Diamond proves that a conversation about race can be funny, moving, nuanced, and probing.


  • Inside the Brain: Researchers Delve Into the Subconscious

    For most of the 20th century, researchers and theorists viewed racism as a pathology, focusing on radical expressions of racial hatred. In recent decades, however, our understanding of racism has shifted to the way in which most of us make tiny decisions every day that may express subconscious bias.


  • An Interview with Lydia R. Diamond

    Playwright Lydia Diamond’s work was last on the Huntington stage in 2010 with her hit play Stick Fly. In this interview, she takes us into the world of Smart People, her newest play.


Press Reviews

Jump to: Audience Buzz | Features
"A SPLENDID new play about race . . . under the characteristically deft direction of Peter DuBois. [Diamond writes] with wit, verve, a shrewd eye for portraiture and an equally shrewd ear. The Huntington cast is just superb."The Boston Globe
"EXCELLENT! Very impressive acting — they're all pretty sexy, too. Diamond and DuBois turn out to be very smart people themselves."WBUR
"Very, very funny and thought-provoking!"Jared Bowen, WGBH
"A brilliant marriage of writing and performance that makes for extremely satisfying theatre. Rarely do intelligence and humor so impressively coexist on the same stage. A clever work, full of wit and wisdom."South Shore Critic
"I had such a good time art this play."WBUR Radio Boston host Anthony Brooks
"Great helpings of edgy wit, barbed humor. Provocative entertainment with great talent and stagecraft. Peter DuBois does a masterful job of direction. All and all this is provocative entertainment performed and produced with great performing talent and stagecraft!"Berkshire Fine Arts
"A snappy, well-acted production. The talented cast delivers on the script's ample humor. Smart People proves how much fun and provocation there is in looking at the present and thinking about the future."Arts Fuse
"Vastly entertaining!"
"Hip, sassy, and edgy comedy!Wicked Local
More Reviews

Audience Buzz

"This play was one of the best I've ever seen. Thought provoking, smart, funny, moving and brilliantly performed. I loved it. See it if you can."— Anne R., via Facebook
"Smart People at the Huntington Theatre Company is one of the best shows I've seen all year. The script is funny and thought provoking, the cast is all top notch (including Boston's own Miranda Craigwell), great direction and design. It's a play that will generate a lot of interesting conversations, that's for sure. See it if you can."— Patrick G., via Facebook
"@huntington Don't miss SMART PEOPLE. It's a wonderful, funny, and thought provoking play about race. Great production, too. #smartpeople"— @DavidAlanGrif
"Smart People for 'Smart People' must watch theater / provocative, black comedy, complex topics unbundled @huntington"— @RanjanPant
"I'd watch more TV if it had the caliber of writing in Smart People, @huntington. Funny & devastating w memorable zingers & riffs. #theater"— @conniekchung
"Lydia Diamond's 'Smart People"' @ the Huntington Theater - smart, clever, moving and beautifully acted."— @lndsullivan
"LUV 'Smart People,' soul-searching play about #racism ,conscious & unconscious @ Calderwood Pavilion, #Boston!"— @data4all
"Still thinking about #SmartPeople @huntington days later. This is an awesome, arresting piece of theater and I feel lucky to have seen it!"— @jessannecox
"Just got out of @huntington production of #SmartPeople. Wow! Actors and set designers and playwright. Just wow! Next season tickets for sure."— @CoreyBBaker
"@MartyLGreen and I saw the Huntington Theatre production of 'Smart People' today. Smart concept, great cast, provocative and funny. Go."— @PaulGreen2332
"Well, well @huntington — w/ Smart People, you've made us squirm and squeal #kudos"— @suedoesnttweet
"#SmartPeople by Lydia R. Diamond @huntington is engaging, challenging but mostly BRILLIANT. The cast is AWESOME. Get your TIX."— @LianaAsim
"Saw major new American play last night-- Lydia Davis' #SmartPeople at the#HungtingtonTheatre. See it if you can."— @lawrencegoodman
"Well, well @huntington --w/ Smart People, you've made us squirm and squeal #kudos"— @suedoesnttweet
"If you like live theater, please go out and support the Huntington Theatre's run of SMART PEOPLE by playwright Lydia Diamond."— @mayorofroxbury
"@huntington incredible set, brilliant cast and amazing writing- Smart People gets so much so right."— @Andrew_Edman
"#SmartPeople @huntington was incredible. Writing, set design and acting was so perfect I want to see it again!"— @Kat_Ely
"@huntington 'Smart People' amazing, uncomfortable, sharp, hysterical, moving...provided a lot of great post play discuss. Go see it"— @julie_mackin
"What I loved most re: Lydia Diamond's 'Smart People':her edginess (this ain't @stickflyplay) & engaging dialogue about race most r afraid of"— @tinudiver
"The one-liners abound #SmartPeople"— @sdooling
"It's a beautifully written show by the brilliant Lydia Diamond."— @caidid
"Smart dialog — great writing and execution by terrific actors. Go! ★ ★ ★ ★ ★"— barbara, via Goldstar
"Built in racial reaction/attitudes have been and most likely will be with us forever. Works like this can help those willing to be helped. This play dug deep and crossed more lines than most attempts to shine light on the subject. I liked it a lot and wish that it could play to the larger TV audience. ★ ★ ★ ★ "— Arthur M., via Goldstar


  • Smart People: What We Talk About When We Talk About Race

    From BU Today, June 4, 2014: "The term “post-racial” makes Lydia R. Diamond cringe. The African American playwright’s new work, Smart People, examines the nature of personal responsibility and awareness in racial prejudice. . . . "
  • Diamond Entangles Smart People in Race

    From The Boston Globe, May 22, 2014: "What’s black and white and crimson all over? Lydia R. Diamond’s new play, Smart People, examines the volatile dynamics of race among four members of the Harvard community around the time Harvard Law School grad Barack Obama was first elected to the presidency. . . . "


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