There were six days of rioting in Los Angeles in 1992. 63 people died and over 2000 people were injured. The riots were sparked by crimes of racial injustice.
Rodney King — an African-American taxi driver — was brutally beaten by several white police officers. The incident was videotaped by an eyewitness and televised to the world by a local news station. Four of these officers were charged with assault while three were acquitted of all charges. Two weeks later Latasha Harlins — an African-American 15-year-old girl — was shot dead by a South Korean convenience shop owner. Her sentence was a $500 fine.
26 years on, we’re sitting in Nottinghill’s Gate Theatre watching female actor Nina Bowers perform Anna Deavere Smith’s verbatim drama Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. First staged in 1993, the play takes us back to 1992 with a plethora of strong, polarising views and a downward spiral of fears and hopes shared by interviewees involved in the Rodney King and Latasha Harlin cases. Smith researched and interviewed 300 people about the riots and condensed them into 19. Bowers portrays them vividly in Ola Ince’s production.