If you have never heard or watched Anna Deavere Smith, it is time to become acquainted with this very talented woman. In this 23 minute video, she portrays Studs Terkel, a woman convict, a Korean shopkeeper, and a bull rider, each character more gripping than the other. The fact that this particular performance was given at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk should give you an indication of its quality.
I first saw Smith at an NAIS Annual Conference and subsequently in "The West Wing" series. See a vivid slice of America by watching the TED video.