Remembering the LA Uprisings through Theater

by: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

It’s been twenty-five years since the Los Angeles riots (also known as the L.A. uprisings). Los Angeles’ California African American Museum (CAAM) is commemorating the anniversary with two different exhibitions. In “No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992,” the museum pairs archives and ephemera together to explore the socio-political history of the city, in ‘92 and now. And in “Trouble Every Day: LA 1965/1992,” CAAM highlights the way music has been integral to ongoing civil rights struggles.

One of the first artists to address the L.A. uprisings was the actor/playwright Anna Deveare Smith. In the summer of 1993, just one year after the Rodney King verdict, Smith opened her one-woman show “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992,” at the Mark Taper Forum. Theatre Journal published seven reviews of “Twilight” in order to attempt to chronicle the diversity of reactions to Smith’s pioneering monologues.

The journal’s editor Susan Vaneta Mason noted, “Because the nature of Smith’s work is to reveal multiple perspectives of a subject, multiple responses to her work may begin to define the contours of her style and may suggest a diversity of approaches to performance criticism.”

Read the rest here at JSTOR Daily.

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