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Award-winning play “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” to be staged at Coe

Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2011-03-29 14:10:06 - General

Coe student Lynnette Volden (Jessye Norman) is one of the actors featured in the Coe theatre production "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992." The play opens April 8 in Dows Theatre on the Coe campus.

The Coe College Department of Theatre Arts will present an award-winning contemporary morality tale in “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” on April 8 - 10 and 14 - 16 in Dows Theatre on the Coe campus. All performances begin at 8 p.m. except for the Sunday, April 10 matinee, which starts at 2 p.m. In addition, a themed pre-performance dinner will be held on Friday, April 15, beginning at 6 p.m. in Clark Alumni House.

Seats are reserved, and tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. The pre-performance dinner option is $20, and reservations are required. Tickets for the play and the dinner are available by calling the Coe Box Office at 399-8600, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets for the performances may also be available at the door.

Written by Anna Deavere Smith and directed by Coe Associate Professor of Theatre Arts Dennis Barnett, the play features an all-student cast. In addition, special interlude music was composed especially for this production by hip-hop artist Mumbles of Los Angeles.

“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” is based on a collection of interviews with participants and bystanders during the riots that raged in Los Angeles following the Rodney King beating. The play is a multimedia and movement-oriented piece with an ensemble of actors, filled with provocative images and evocative music. “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” has received numerous awards and honors including two Tony nominations, an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award and two NAACP Theatre Awards.

Among other reasons, Barnett became interested in this production when he mentioned the name “Rodney King” in class during a discussion of race relations, and was taken aback by the blank stares on the faces of his students. He realized that most of today’s college students were born at about the time of the Los Angeles riots, and many have little knowledge of that period in history. When Barnett learned that “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” had been made available for ensembles, he jumped at the opportunity to introduce it to Coe students to enhance their cultural heritage.

“The play is a rendition of eyewitness accounts of the riots that broke out following the Rodney King verdicts,” said Barnett. “In our production, I have cast 12 performers who endeavor to present three characters each. In keeping with the spirit of the piece, all of them perform characters of a different gender or race than those with which they identify themselves.”

Barnett believes “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” presents a valuable learning experience for the actors and will lead audience members to think about the question famously asked by Rodney King, “Why can’t we all get along?”

“To spend three months working intimately with a cast of mixed race on a play that explores so intensely issues of racial tension has proved to be a wonderful journey for me. I hope the students feel similarly. Though the play makes it clear how complex race can be, working together on this project has, I think, also made it possible to see how simple it can be at the same time,” concluded Barnett.

For ticket information, call 399-8600 or visit coe.edu.

More about the musician Mumbles
Born as Matthew Fowler, the artist and producer Mumbles has lived a life rich with musical diversity and spiritual inspiration. Raised in a family of professional jazz musicians, Mumbles developed an ear for jazz and hip-hop music from an early age. As his career unfolded, Mumbles turn his attention to the complexity of rhythm, melody and harmony.

In the mid-1990s, Mumbles collaborated with Aceyalone and other artists on several hip-hop projects, including “A Book of Human Language,” which has sense received wide acclaim as an underground hip-hop classic. Mumbles also spent several years of his life in contemplation, devotion, spiritual study, travel and meditation. When returning from India, he lived in Santa Fe, where he worked on the album Transformations/Illuminations” for Sound in Color. This lush soundscape masterfully blends eastern and western music, with the classic boom-bap Mumbles helped usher to hip-hop earlier in his career.

Mumbles’ long musical study of jazz, hip-hop, funk, classical and spiritual music is evident and present in his intensely unique style of musical production. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.