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Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, Back in Town 20 Years After Swaths of the City Burned, and More New Reviews

of his travails within LAUSD, A Child Left Behind, is this week's Pick. Other New Reviews also include Bill Raden's "GO" review of Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, honoring the 20th anniversary of our most recent riots. Smith is not performing in that production (at the Skylight Theatre, 1816 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz), but she is appearing tonight, Wednesday, April 25, 7-9 p.m., for a community discussion of the events of 20 years ago. Robert F. Kennedy Community High School (Cocoanut Grove Theatre), 701 S. Catalina St., Los Angeles.

Click here for the latest New Theater Reviews, or go to the jump. Also check out this week's Stage Feature on The Convert at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and The Magic Bullet Theory at Sacred Fools Theater in Hollywood.

NEW THEATER REVIEWS, Scheduled for Publication, April 26, 2012

PICK OF THE WEEK: A CHILD LEFT BEHIND

Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, Back in Town 20 Years After Swaths of the City Burned, and More New Reviews
Heather Wynters

Just in time for the 20th anniversary (April 29) of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, director Leila Vatan commemorates the event in an often searing, albeit oddly theatricalized adaptation of Anna Deavere Smith's acclaimed one-woman stage panorama of dramatic monologues taken from interviews with people involved. This Twilight is pared down from Smith's two-hour-plus 1996 Berkeley Rep text to a spry 75 minutes. Brevity, however, is the least of the production's departures. Vatan also fully casts the monologues with a 25-member ensemble in a polished and seamless trompe l'oeil of accomplished individual performances. Her greatest liberty, however, may be the introduction of a gangsta dance chorus costumed in black hoodies. As choreographed by Sophia Marzocchi and Sarah Mitchell, the chorus injects an omnipresent aura of menace, especially in a climactic number that finishes with the dancers practically in the laps of the audience, pointing threateningly into the house. As accented by Jeff McLaughlin's eerie, low-key lighting, the moment is devastatingly effective. It is also emblematic of a show that appeals to the emotions rather than the intellect. But for a city that has yet to come to terms with those three days of conflagration and that remains as racially divided and geographically alienated as it was two decades ago, that may be Vatan's greatest tribute. Skylight Theater, 1816 1/2 N. Vermont Ave., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m.; through April 29. (702) 582-8587, ktctickets.com, bhplayhouse.com. (Bill Raden)


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