Theatre / Twilight: Los Angeles

Twilight: Los Angeles is a docudrama about the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Author and performer Anna Deavere Smith interviewed 35 people about their experiences during the riots and recorded their observations. She then performed the interviews playing all of the roles.


  • Heroic Bystander: A few examples, including the people who pulled Reginald Denny out of his truck after he'd been attacked by rioters.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: According to one of the jurors involved, following the acquittal of the police officers involved in the Rodney King beating by an all-white jury, the presiding judge was so horrified he doxed every last juror. This was significant because normally, the names of the jurors in a trial are not released for a specified period of time.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The play effectively has 35 equally prominent protagonists.
  • Moral Myopia: A heavily explored theme in the play, as many interviewees are either guilty of it or have suffered due to someone else's.
  • Profiling: One monologue features a description of an interviewee's Driving While Black experience.
  • Race Lift: Although people of many different races were interviewed, there was only one performer.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted. The text retains a lot of the repetitions, stammering, placeholder words, and grammatical errors that the original subjects used in their interviews, and it tends to add to the play's air of authenticity in performance.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Smith's play Fires in the Mirror, which was about racial tensions and riots in Brooklyn.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: By including people who represent every major group involved in the riots, Smith humanizes all of these groups and invites the audience to see things from their perspective.
  • Urban Segregation: Another major theme is how many of the upper-class white interviewees didn't see the riot coming because the conditions in poorer neighborhoods were totally invisible to them.
  • White Guilt: A prominent topic in many of the the white interviewees' monologues is the extent to which they were complicit in the racial problems that led to the riots.
  • You ALL Share My Story: This is the connecting point of the piece because it is about the experiences each person had during the riots.