The President, Vice President and First Lady attended the theatre together Feb. 9 -- attending historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC to see Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Anna Deavere Smith’s one-woman show about racial tensions behind riots in that city following the verdict in the 1992 Rodney King beating trial.
The timing was perhaps not coincidental, coming just days after the guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson civil trial. The trial, which had resulted in a not-guilty trial in its criminal phase, split public opinion more or less along racial lines.
In Twilight, Smith used quick changes of voice, accent and body language to embody more than two dozen participants in, and victims of,l the 1992 riots, showing emotions and attitudes on many sides of the issue.
Reuters news service reported that President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Gore’s son, Albert Jr., attended a matinee performance and “applauded and laughed throughout her performance.” Clinton reportedly paid Smith a visit backstage at intermission.