Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 Opens May 3-10

Friday, April 11, 2014

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

College Park, MD— The UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies presents Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, a play by MacArthur ‘Genius’ award-winning playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith, May 3-10 at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

The Clarice is hosting a number of Talk Backs after select performances. On May 4, there will be a panel discussion with cast and director Caroline Clay. On May 8, there will be a panel discussion with the artistic team and dramaturg Kahlid Yaya Long. On May 9, a panel discussion moderated by Long will feature Dr. Ester Kim Lee, Associate Professor of Theatre at UMD; Dr. Rashawn Ray, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UMD; and Rev. Carolyn Boyd, the former host of Spirit in Action, heard on WPFW-89.3

About Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

In 1991, the violent police assault of African American Rodney King ignited international outrage after being captured on videotape and aired widely. A year later in 1992, in the aftermath of the trial and acquittal of the four Los Angeles Police Department officers charged with assault, protest and riots broke out in the streets of Los Angeles, where the incident took place.

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is the result of nearly 300 interviews Anna Deavere Smith conducted in a nine-month span with gang members, police officers, lawyers, activists and shopkeepers from a diversity of class and racial backgrounds after the riots. The technique, often called theatre of testimony or documentary theatre, draws on traditions of oral history and is often used as a catalyst for social change. Smith has become an innovator in documentary theatre by cultivating solo performances based on the interviews she collects, and she originally performed Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 as a solo show. The work was nominated for the 1994 Tony Award for Best Play.

Although the play is traditionally a one-woman show, the UMD production features a small cast in which each actor plays a range of characters. Dramaturg Khalid Yaya Long says, “In doing so, this production and its artisans are invested in challenging audiences to think deeply about our own identities and the identities of others, especially in terms of how these understandings may inform social unrest. Honoring Smith’s intention to break through the silence of troubling and controversial topics, Twilight invites audiences to engage in a dialogue around race and racism. However, the play offers no simple solutions. Rather, Twilight: Los Angeles uses its animation of various viewpoints to help us all journey to a shared, common ground.”


More information can be found on our website. Tickets for this performance are $25/$10 (Regular/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is a dynamic community of artist-scholars who advance and transform the research and practice of their art forms.  The School is committed to collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship.  TDPS, the School of Music and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.