This winter, Moorestown Friends School is performing the play Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. Traditionally a one woman show, the performance portrays the different reactions of people who were involved in the L.A. Riots twenty years ago. These riots followed the arrest of Rodney King, who was beaten by several Caucasian police officers. The officers claimed he was under the influence of PCP and therefore acted violently towards them. A video of the incident, paired with a negative drug test, proved otherwise.
Director Mark Gornto chose this play because, “Looking at the fact that it has been 20 years, it’s interesting to revisit the conversation that deals with race and how nothing has been changed in 20 years.” Gornto cast each character after listening to each actor recite a monologue from the play. He paid no attention to the physical appearance of the actor, as some men are cast as women and vice versa.
The story is universal; it’s a human story, not a male-female, black-and-white story.
In preparation for this play, the actors will each have to dive into an intense character analysis, plus investigate a historical background of the events. Gornto explained, “Imagine the typical character analysis covered with a very intense historical exploration.” He added, “I think the cast that we’ve assembled really appreciates the story that’s being told and really cares about the message.”
The final production will involve a number of audio and video appearances, including live scenes from the events in 1992. Gornto said, “Making that happen seamlessly and easily is challenging.” Looking toward the future, Gornto said, “I’m excited about seeing how all the pieces come together and seeing how much of a conversation we can generate in the community itself, not just the cast.”