BWW Review: TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992 at Rep Stage in Columbia - A Stunning Production
For many in the audience at Rep Stage for TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES, 1992, they may not recall what occurred in LA seventeen years ago. They may not recall names such as Rodney King, Daryl Gates, and Reginald Denny. But for many of us, these names bring back the horrors of the race riots due to the police attacking a Black man, Rodney King, and a White truck driver, Reginald Denny, being attacked by a Black mob...all on video.
Kudos to Rep Stage Producing Artistic Director for bringing this seminal work by acclaimed playwright Anna Deavere Smith (author of FIRES IN THE MIRROR) to the Baltimore/Washington area. And how timely this play is after Baltimore was rocked recently with the racial uprising after the Freddie Gray death in the hands of the Baltimore Police force. Baltimore is still recovering. This play is very relevant. Smith received two Tony nominations for TWILIGHT.
Ritsch also gets the credit for bringing in Director Paige Hernandez (critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer, and playwright) who does a masterful job directing her friend and exceptional actress Danielle A. Drakes to tackle all of the characters in this production. Hernandez and Drakes are no strangers. They have worked together numerous times very successfully.
The program relates that the play is based on interviews conducted by the playwright soon after the race riots in LA and that all words were spoken by real people and are verbatim from those interviews. This certainly makes what is heard on stage riveting at times.
Drakes performs a tour de force. Both Drakes and Hernandez specialize in one person shows and their work here is exceptional. I wonder how long it took Drakes to memorize her lines.
With a quick change of clothes Drakes' characters include cops, cashiers, truck drivers, a medical student, a Congresswoman, a former Senator, and various victims. She is quite a talent.
The Projection Design by Sarah Tundermann (also responsible for the great lighting) add greatly. Her use of about 17 television sets and videos help explain the reality of what occurred in 1992. As the theater did in SWEENEY TODD, the stage expands to the balcony above the stage where the action opens in Act II. Flags from Panama and Mexico are cleverly unfurled from the balcony railing. Kasey Hendricks did the Properties Design, Debra Kim Sivigny the Scenic Design), Hope Villaneuva did the Sound Design, and Jessica Welch did the Costumes.
Check out the free Pre-Show Lecture "Anna Deavere Smith's Civic Dialogues" Moderated by Dr. Lisa A. Wilde on Saturday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. at the Monteaboro Recital Hall.
Just noticed Smith has a small role in the ABC television series "For The People".
Next up at Rep Stage is THE 39 STEPS by Patrick Barlow and directed by Joseph W. Ritsch and runs May 2-!9, 2019.
HEATHERS THE MUSICAL comes to Howard Community College March 14-17. HEATHERS is based on the classic 1989 film. For tickets, call 443-518-1500 or visit www.howardcc.edu/heathers.
Rep Stage has its fund-raiser entitled "Repartee" on Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased at 332-518-199 or visit www.howardcc.edu/repartee.
TWILIGHT ends March 17, 2019. For tickets, call 443-518-1500 or visit www.repstage.org.
For a nice dinner before attending Rep Stage, I highly recommend Royal Taj located at 8335 Benson Drive, Columbia, MD 21045. It's a gorgeous restaurant and features wonderful Indian cuisine. Visit www.royaltajmd.com or call 410-381-1111 for reservations. I recommend you request a nice table for two in front of a nice fireplace.