“Twilight: Lost Angeles, 1992” by Anna Deavere Smith presented by Rep Stage opens March 1, 2019 (with previews February 28) through March 17 at the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center’s Studio Theatre at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. The play was taken from months of interviews with more than two hundred people to reflect the diversity and tension of a city in turmoil after the Rodney King verdict and the riots that followed. It deals not only deals with the physical impact of the riots and the verdict but also the devastating human impact. This is a one-woman show starring Daniel Drakes and directed by Paige Hernandez.
I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Drakes some questions about the show and her career.
Tickets are available online.
Danielle A. Drakes is an actor, director, and teacher who originated the portrayal of Elizabeth Keckley in Ford’s Theatre’s History on Foot. As the founder of the Hegira for three seasons, she produced readings and performances of new plays by Jacqueline Lawton, Carla Ching, Kara Lee Corthron, and Nandita Shenoy. She also directed Paige in Full written/performed by Paige Hernandez. In its last season, Danielle produced/performed in Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood. She led the development/production of Havana Hop, another Ms. Hernandez interactive performance designed for elementary school students, commissioned by Cleveland PlayhouseSquare in Ohio. She received her BA from Goucher College and MFA from The Catholic University of America. Ms. Drakes is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She is also the Resident Director for FRESHH Theatre Company. Upcoming projects include directing Antigone for CUA Hartke Theatre and Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem for Theater Alliance in Washington, DC.
Why did you choose to do this play, ‘Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992’ at this time?
I recently taught the play in a general education course at a local university. I have always been interested in Ms. Deveare’s process of storytelling.
Were you old enough to remember the riot after the Rodney King verdict and if so, where did you live?
Yes, I lived on the East Coast, in New Jersey.
How do you think this play is relevant since the 27 years since the riots? For example, do you think things have gotten better, worse or the same between law enforcement and the black community?
Not sure. I do think that there is time to make a better society where Korryn Gaines and Freddie Gray would still be alive.
I see you have worked with Ms. Hernandez before with her directing and you acting and vice versa. How did this relationship start? What do enjoy about working with her? Do you prefer being the director or the actor?
It started when I led, directed and produced Paige in Full with the Hegira Theatre in 2010. We did a short road trip prior to aunchung B-Fly. Then Paige brought me on to do Havana Hop in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square in 2015. We have grown to be close friends and collaborators. Paige is a multi-talented artist with inspiring integrity.
What other works are you going to be doing in the Baltimore-Washington Area in the next several months?
Directing Sophokles’ Antigone translation by Anne Carson at Catholic University in April.
Directing Klymnestra: An Epic Slam Poem written and performed by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi at Theater Alliance in residence at Anacostia Playhouse in May.