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A Must See

PBS to Air Encore of Anna Deavere Smith’s TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES

Do you have plans on June 12? (After you binge watch the third season of Netflix’s’ OITNB of course). Whatever they are, they need to include the viewing of Marc Levin’s film adaption of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, an innovate piece of theater exploring the 1992 Los Angles riots and its lasting affects as told from multiple points of view.

It has been said that Smith created a new form of theater. When granted the prestigious MacArthur Award, her work was described as “a blend of theatrical art, social commentary, journalism, and intimate reverie”Twilight; the re-aring of this film couldn’t be timelier. In the film adaptation, Smith’s performance is intertwined footage and interviews with rioters and victims from the 1992 riots that took place in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial. The encore showing marks the 23rd anniversary of those riots, with Smith providing a brand new introduction to her piece that aligns with the current state of race relations and outrage against police brutality in the United States. The themes of rage, sorrow, loss and hope that are prevalent in the film still resonate with us today.

Smith is no stranger to creating a blend of social commentary and theatrical art. Her play, Fires in the Mirror (1991), went in depth about the Crown Heights riots in regards to racial relations between black and Jewish neighborhoods, which was also broadcast on PBS. Most recently PBS aired Let Me Down Easy in 2012, another Smith piece that examined human resilience though the national debate on health care.

Twilight: Los Angeles originally aired on PBS in 2001, and once again in 2012. On April 29, 2015 it was made available online on PBS’ THIRTEEN’s website. It was also performed on Broadway in 1994, directed by George C. Wolfe (Lucky Guy), staring Smith herself. PBS praises her for giving every “character” depth and staying true to each interviewee’s story (using only their words and duplicating their speech patterns, mannerisms, dress, and attitudes). Smith’s Twilight: Los Angles played on Broadway and around the country. It received two Tony Nominations, an Obie, Drama Desk Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle’s Special Citation and a number of other honors.

Twilight: Los Angles will air on PBS June 12 at 9 p.m. ET (check your local listings), as apart of THIRTEEN’s Great Performances.

I know my reminder will be set, will yours?

Twilight: Los Angeles


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