- By KEN WERTHER
It was very late at night (or early in the morning, I suppose). Around 1:30am almost 31 years ago on April 30, 1992. I had been asleep for just a few minutes when I was awakened by what sounded like “snap, crackle, pop” magnified about a hundred times, right outside my bedroom window. Fire! A couple of hours later, although the fire department fought valiantly, my building was toast. Every material possession I had called mine was gone. For the next six days, LA experienced the so-called Rodney King riots … the 1992 Los Angeles riots … the 1992 Los Angeles uprising.
One of the most important works in the history of the Mark Taper Forum, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is a stunning play that explores the devastating human impact of the five days of uprising following the Rodney King verdict. Over 300 interviews were conducted during the year following the riots by playwright and scholar Anna Deavere Smith. She then crafted a play that goes directly to the heart of the issues of race and class. Using the exact words spoken to her by the people she interviewed, Smith performed the play solo in 1993. The 30th anniversary production coming home to the Taper this month has been revised and expanded (by Smith) for five actors. I worked on the original production, and I can tell you without hesitation that this show is not to be missed.
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