A Note from Dr. Elizabeth Alexander

AUG 20, 2022

Dr. Elizabeth Alexander is President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Tiffany Rachelle Stewart in a yellow sweatshirt, black sweatpants, and baseball cap sitting amidst a piles of clothes.

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is a significant historic work of art exquisitely timed for 2022.

Though created nearly 30 years ago, Twilight’s prescience lies in its power to capture that past moment of social strife and conflict in Los Angeles while also conveying revelations about our current troubling era.

I was honored to work as a dramaturg on that first unforgettable production of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at the Mark Taper Forum in LA. Working in the ashes of Los Angeles in the post-uprising aftermath of the Rodney King trial verdict, I watched with amazement as one visionary—Anna Deavere Smith—interviewed Angelenos from different communities who were not in productive conversation with each other.

She would bring those voices back to the dramaturgical collective, and together we would listen and talk and argue and learn as we heard the truths the voices revealed. Then she took the generative richness that emerged and made it into the extraordinary play we have today.

At that same time, Anna Deavere Smith was learning every part, studying the various languages included in the script, and physically training to inhabit the characters she would bring to life on stage—each one of whom communicated through her alone.

Now, in another time of strife and hopefulness, a team of actors is once more bringing us these voices and making community where there must be community.

It is our great fortune to experience Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 again.

Tiffany Rachelle Stewart as Katie Miller in Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992: Lauren Miller.

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