Review Of Anna Deavere Smith 's ' Twilight ' Essay

Decent Essays
In May of 1992, actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith was commissioned to write a one-woman performance piece about the experiences, feelings, and tensions that contributed to and were exacerbated by the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[1] For her work, Smith interviewed over 200 residents of Los Angeles during the time of the riot. Her script consists entirely of the actual words of members of the Los Angeles community as they reflect on their experiences surrounding the Los Angeles riots. As Smith described in the introduction to her play, Twilight, which she later published as a book, "I am first looking for the humanness inside the problems, or the crises."[2] She strived to maintain a wide variety of perspectives, interviewing people from all walks of life: white, black, Korean, Latino, poor, rich, police officers and gang members alike. Anna Deavere Smith 's play was widely received as a brilliant work of theater. One New York Times reviewer, David Richards, praised her performance saying, "She does people 's souls."[3] Anna Deavere Smith 's play Twilight helps illuminate the thoughts and feelings of many diverse perspectives behind the racial tensions, the perceived police brutality, and the lack of leadership for greatly needed urban renewal. Combined with historical research, Twilight provides a meaningful examination of the underlying causes of the Los Angeles riots. A longer historical view also reveals the larger class tensions and the massive fluctuation of ethnic
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