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A Time to Remember

A Time to Remember

Photo: Los Angeles Times

Photo: Los Angeles Times

On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was pulled over by Los Angeles police after a high speed chase that resulted in a brutal beating by four police officers that was witnessed by a video taping bystander. After this video hit the mainstream news, these four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. Ultimately all four officers were acquitted of all charges. Within hours of these acquittals, the 1992 Los Angeles riots began.

Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 a play by Ann Deavere Smith and directed by Anna Klein Hamaguchi plays one more weekend closing on Sunday July 30 at the Loo Theatre at Chaminade University.

Twilight is a series of monologues gathered from those involved or affected by the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The words are their own, taken verbatim.

Many of us remember seeing the footage of the Rodney King beating, the looting, rioting and burning. Over a six day period, lives were lost, thousands were arrested and property damages were estimated at 1 billion dollars.

With a cast of 2 males and 5 females, Hamaguchi uses her actors freely. The cast easily morphs into an array of both male and female characters of varying ages and ethnicities without the use of wigs or prosthetics. Easy costume pieces by Christine Lamborn help to create the visual outline allowing the actor to fill in the rest.

The set by Rachel Filbeck is gritty and moody. Two small stages flank a center space of trash, broken chairs, and garbage cans along a broken chain link fence. Characters wait against a brick wall as monologues are spoken before taking the stage.

Large monitors mounted from the ceiling playback the videos of 25 years ago and introduce each character to the audience.

The cast slip into their characters almost seamlessly. Sometimes attention was pulled away by actors going in and out through a small curtained entrance in to what I guess was dressing quarters. As an ensemble these cast and crew members work very well together in bringing this production to life. Together they bring forth the words and emotions of a time not too long ago. Words that still have so much impact on the political and social climate of our nation today.

In her director’s notes, Hamaguchi writes, “With the deep divisions of our country today, I hope this play demonstrates the kind of conversation that needs to happen so that reconciliation can take place”.  

Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 is the first of three productions of the Chaminade University Collegiate Theatre Festival. Upcoming productions include The Virtue in Propaganda by Michelle Huynh, a staged reading playing August 11 and 12 and Na Kau A Hi’iaka, a Hawaiian language play presenting the mo’olelo of Hi’iakaikapoliopele and Pelehonuamea, August 18 - 20.

Call 808-202-6360 or go to www.showtix4u.com for tickets and information.

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