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Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Ola Ince, Director Interview) Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Ola Ince, Director Interview)
Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (Ola Ince, Director Interview)

Twilight: Los Angles 1992, is a one-woman play by Anna Deveare Smith about the 1992 riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King verdict. It is based on interviews Smith did with people connected directly and indirectly with the events. Ebonyonline.net caught up with the director Ola Ince, who took time out from her busy rehearsal  schedule to talk politics, police brutality and the need for UK to wake up to its race issues.


EO: What attracted you direct this exciting new production of playwright Anna Deveare Smith work?

OI: The language.

The raw and bold expression.

The unimaginable truths that people tell.

The unique voices.

A perpetual  curiosity about race and identity.

The need to exorcise our societal demons.

It was too relevant to ignore.


EO: What’s the process of getting one person to create 20 or so individual voices. How complex was this?

OI: Luckily for me Nina Bowers is INCREDIBLY talented, so it hasn’t been complex at all. It’s been a wonderful thrilling adventure! Here are some of our steps:


We’ve watched documentaries, read autobiographies, novels and listened to podcasts.


We’ve visited art galleries and found inspiration from artists like Basquiat and  Modigliani.


We’ve looked at the physicality of the interviewees through Laban efforts and contemporary dance.


We’ve worked with a dialect coach to accurately give voice to the African Americans, Koreans, White Americans and Latinos.


We’ve learnt to love every interviewee equally (that was hard).


We’ve listened to lots of James Brown and shook off the anxiety!


But most importantly we’ve let the words led us, as Anna Deveare Smith wisely says if you say a words enough you become it.


EO: What are the key messages you want the audience to come away with?

OI: “In order to dismantle unjust, racist structures, we must see race.” Reni Eddo-Lodge


That we can no longer pretend that the UK doesn’t have a race relations problem. That we can no longer ignore our biases and prejudices. That conversation doesn’t need to be comfortable, but they do need to happen or we’ll never move forward. If we hide behind PC conversations we’ll never be able to address the root of our issues, we’ll never truly be able to remedy our grievance and misunderstandings.

EO: Even though the events happened in 1992, how relevant are the issues in today’s Trump’s America?

OI: The play is relevant universally today, especially in the UK! It’s relevant because we continue to struggle with race relations, police brutality is still prevalent, ethnic minorities are still struggling to gain equality.


EO: Do you think if Black Lives Matter had existed in the past, the outcome of the court trials would have been the same?

OI: Sadly I don’t think it would have made a difference. There have always been movements like Black Lives Matter to counteract racial injustice; the problem is that those movements don’t have the support of the wider society. Race inequality is seen as an ethnic minority issue not everyone’s issue. Until everyone takes responsibility it will never end!


Since the outcomes of Latasha Harlins and Rodney King’s court trials (both incidents involved recorded evidence of injustice and both their perpetrators avoided the just punishment), there have been many other cases of unjust verdicts i.e. Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.


EO: What hopes do you have for black theatre and black talent as we move in 2018?

OI: I hope that black artists are given main stages in major venues that we are entrusted with enormous budgets, are given the space, time and money to research and develop ideas. I hope to see work that describes the diversity of our communities.


I hope to see work that broadens perspectives rather than confirms stereotypes. I hope that artists are given the opportunity to make work that intrigues them rather than work for tokenism.


I hope to see more black talent in positions of power.


EO: Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline for the coming year?

OI: Yes! I can’t wait until I’m officially allowed to announce them.


EO: Finally why is this play a must for all lovers of black theatre?

OI: I directed it! (Wink)


Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is at the Gate Theatre, London from 11 Jan – 3 Febn www.gatetheatre.co.uk for tickets and details or click here to read preview article about the production http://ebonyonline.net/2017/12/30/twilight-los-angeles-1992/

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