In her powerful one-woman/multi-voiced theater piece, Anna Deavere Smith, who interviewed hundreds of people involved the 1991 Rodney King beating, the violent aftermath of the 1992 verdict and the lasting impact of the Los Angeles riots on America’s conscience, virtually “becomes” some 30 real-life characters — a Korean grocer, a Hollywood agent, L.A.P.D. captain Daryl Gates, a juror, even NRA spokesperson Charlton Heston. Recounting their stories verbatim, Smith assumes their voices and mannerisms with chameleon-like accuracy, chronicling the complex tragedy from its many cultural perspectives. For this film adaptation of Smith’s acclaimed play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, award-winning director Marc Levin (Slam, Whiteboys) weaves Smith’s virtuoso stage performance with news footage and recent interviews to create an unflinching portrait of rage, sorrow, loss and battered hope.
Airs Friday, August 24, at 8pm on Channel 5.