Released September 29, 2000
Anna Deavere Smith transforms herself into scores of individuals -- using only their words and duplicating their speech patterns, mannerisms, dress, and attitudes -- in a mosaic set in the violent aftermath of the 1992 Rodney King trial and verdict. These verbatim portrayals bring together adversaries, victims, eyewitnesses, and observers who have never stood within the same four walls, let alone spoken to each other. In her signature performance style, Smith embodies and gives voice to scores of real-life "characters" -- from LAPD Police Chief Daryl Gates to a gang member, from Korean store owners to a white juror, from Reginald Denny to Congresswoman Maxine Waters -- black, white, Asian, Latino. Because she is able to speak the words and convey the deeply held sentiments of so many different people, Smith enables her audience members to hear what they might otherwise discount."