The University Theatre presents
a performance based on excerpts from

Los Angeles,

by Anna Deavere Smith

November 11 - 20, 2000

Directed by
Cynthia M. Gendrich

Scenic & Lighting Design by 
Jonathan Christman

Costume Design by
Lisa Weller

Sound Design by 
Woodrow Hood & Matt Udvari*

Stage Manager
Cate Calhoun


Act One
BILL BRADLEY-  Matthew A. W. Verga

The Territory

MIKE DAVIS -Robin Gilliland

THERESA ALLISON- Jocelyn L. Womack

CORNEL WEST- Leonard Benton

Here's A Nobody


GIL GARCETTI- Joseph M. Gera*

Matthew A. W. Verga

War Zone
MAYOR TOM BRADLEY-Jonathan Horvath*

JUDITH TUR- Jennifer Blevins*

PAUL PARKER- Nicklaus Spruill


Leonard Benton

KATIE MILLER-Jocelyn L. Womack

ELAINE YOUNG-  Sona K. Tatoyan*


MAXINE WATERS- Jennifer Blevins*


DARYL GATES- Joseph M. Gera*

DEAN GILMOUR- Robin Gilliland


Act Two
WALTER PARK(silent) Joseph M. Gera*

CHRIS OH- Robin Gilliland

MRS. JUNE PARK- Julie Stone*

CHRIS OH- Robin Gilliland

BETYE SAAR- Sona K. Tatoyan*


Jonathan Horvath*

PAULA WEINSTEIN- Jennifer Blevins*

OWEN SMET- Nicklaus Spruill

ELAINE BROWN- Jocelyn L. Womack

HOMI BHABHA- Jonathan Horvath*

Matthew A. W. Verga


GLADIS SIBRIAN- Sona K. Tatoyan*

TWILIGHT BEY-Leonard Benton

* Member of The Anthony Aston Players


Technical Director 

Douglas W. Brown

Costume Shop Supervisor 
Lisa Weller

Audience Services Coordinator 
Shanda Smith

Acting Coach 
Brook Davis

Video Engineer 
Eddie Childress

Assistant Stage Managers 
Cary Donaldson*, Sarah Leer
Jeff Margevich

Master Carpenter 
Sarah Storminger

Scene Shop Assistants 
Aaron Bokros*, Bill Diggle*,Matt Fuller*, 
Susan Martin, Sarah Storminger, 
Michael Wright

Scenery & Props Crew 
Eric Alderman, Audry Allen, Chris Demetra, Erling Donelly, Ed Dziedzic, Ryan Farley, Allison Hallman, Gary C. Hill, Liz Hynes, Mercer Langley, Dustin McCauley, Liz McDowell, David McKaig, Garrett Nabors, 
Hartwell Pritchett, Stacy Roeck, Lynne Shenk, Darius Songaila, Peter Sternburg, 
M. Thompson

Costume Shop Assistants 
K.T. Early, Katherine Lewis
Erin Wade*, Pamela Yeager

Nicholas Kinder*

Lightboard Operator 
Tom Ruffner*

Electrics Assistants 
Aaron Bokros*, Matt Fuller*, Matt Nelkin

Electrics Crew 
John Adams, Adrian Barr, David Detterline, John Koerner, Brian Li, Chris Rector

Sound Board Operator Wake Murphy* 

Poster Design Jimmy Hilburn

Photography  Bill Ray III

Homepage Images Jonathan Christman

Publicity Assistant Kelly Murdoch-Kitt*

Assistant House Manager 
Elizabeth Rief Cheek

Box Office & Front of House Staff 
Ali Ayala, Sarah Brewer, Kristen Franke
Jonathan Loudin, Alan Susi, Cammie Wilson*

Front of House Crew
Sarah Irvin, Edward Muir
Jennifer Newman, Tommy O’Reardon
Elizabeth Schneider, Qionna Tinney

Theatre Office Assistants 
Nathan Gunter, Nick Kinder
Jen Phillips, Tanis Smith, Nick Spruill
Amber Wiley*, Michael Wright

* Member of The Anthony Aston Players

Dr. Luis González
Kevin Kim
Robert & Marika Tur
Prerecorded videotape supplied by CNN
©Cable News Network, LP, LLLP All Rights Reserved.


Director’s Notes 

In the year after the not-guilty verdict was handed down in the trial of the police officers indicted for beating Rodney King, playwright Anna Deavere Smith interviewed hundreds of people directly or indirectly affected by the L.A. Riots. All offered their individual voices and perspectives to Smith, who compiled, edited, and performed this extraordinary group of monologue/interviews.

In creating an ensemble piece from what was originally a one woman show, concerns have arisen, from how to cast, costume, and
stage the show, to how to remain faithful to the spirit that inspired it. A particular insight of Smith’s has remained with me throughout. She
asks if the inability to empathize with those different from ourselves starts with “an inhibition, or a reluctance to see,” and she encourages us to connect with voices and perspectives that are not our own. In
that spirit, I’ll let Smith’s words speak for me here. She writes, 

If I passed out a piece of poetry to be read by a racially mixed group
and I asked them to read it with an English accent, most would try. If I passed out a piece of Black poetry written in dialect, many would be inhibited and fearful of offending others. In a playwriting class, I gave an exercise called ‘gang writing’…A student raised the question, “Isn’t it offensive for us, here in our privileged environment, to write about gangs?” Does privilege mean one shouldn’t see?… “Who has a right to see what?” “Who has the right to say what?” “Who has the right to speak for whom?” These questions have plagued the contemporary theater. These questions address both issues of employment equity
and issues of who is portrayed. These questions are the questions that unsettle and prohibit a democratic theater in America. If only a man can speak for a man, a woman for a woman, a Black person for all Black people, then we, once again, inhibit the spirit of theater, which lives in the bridge that makes unlikely aspects seem connected. The
bridge doesn’t make them the same, it merely displays how two unlikely aspects are related. These relationships of the unlikely, these
connections of things that don’t fit together are crucial to American theater and culture if theater and culture plan to help us assemble our obvious differences.

For audience members, the responsibility is simple: do what you always do in the theatre; look for your connections to the characters
onstage, whoever they may be. For those of us rehearsing the play it has sometimes been more complicated. One (white female) cast
member was surprised at a stranger’s wild laughter when he discovered she was cast as a famous black woman. This could have
inhibited the actor, but Smith’s words came back to us: how can we empathize with one another if we are afraid to see, feel, and speak
as another? We must move beyond the narrow confines of our own perspectives if we ever hope to understand one another.

This is not meant as a universalist argument, but one that embraces the fluidity of identity. Smith says that in her interviews she is searching for her subjects’ character. However, the business of performing these interviews can be tricky. Smith, for instance, has been accused of caricature, despite her use of her subjects’ own words, gestures, style of dress, and vocal production—or a close imitation thereof. Her response is a variation on the performance philosophy of many 20 th century political playwrights, including Brecht: “Mimicry is not character,” Smith says. “Character lives in the obvious gap between the real person and my attempt to seem like them. I try to close the gap between us, but I applaud the gap
between us.”

We hope that we have done the same.

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