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The Urgency of Anna Deavere Smith’s “Twilight: Los Angeles”


Illustration by Olivia Fields.


With Anna Deavere Smith’s 1993 play Twilight: Los Angeles now streaming on the Public Broadcasting Service's (PBS) website, Vinson Cunningham's The New Yorker feature affirms that Smith's work is more timely than ever. The PBS version of Twilight follows Smith's original play, which takes place seven years after the Los Angeles Uprising and the brutal beating of Rodney King. Twilight compresses hundreds of interviews and stories into an energizing one-woman show that asks questions about struggles that continue to ring true.

"...Smith’s plays take pluralism as a given, but subtly synthesize it into a unified whole. (Another way to say this is that Smith delivers in art what America has chronically failed at in practice.)"