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Things to get Real in Straz Center/Jobsite’s ‘Twilight’

Bill DeYoung

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"It’s wonderful to be back," actress Andresia Moseley says. "I would be lying if I didn’t say I was scared to come back, or that there’s not a certain fear or hesitance. I’ve been distanced from people and the stage and the theater for eight or nine months now." Photo: Straz Center

Her friends and her fans in the Spoken Word universe know her as Real. In theater circles, she goes by her real name, Andresia Moseley.

It’s in that latter incarnation that she takes the stage next week, at the Jaeb Theater, in the one-woman drama Twilight: Los Angeles (1992), by Anna Deveare Smith.

It’s Moseley’s first time in seven years working with Jobsite Theatre artistic director David Jenkins, who’s directing the (lowered capacity and socially distanced) performance.

The 2013 Jobsite show was called Hot Nights For the War Wives of Ithaca. In the interim, Moseley has been touring the South, and the country, as a Spoken Word artist and in such plays as Speed Killed My Cousin and Swopera: A Spoken Word Opera.

She was the recipient of the 2018 National Performance Network’s Creation and Development Fund, co-commissioned by Art2Action and ASU Gammage, and supported by the Hillsborough Arts Council Artist Development Grant.

She is a poet, a writer … and an actress. A triple threat.

“I’m a theater actor first,” Moseley says, “so I’ve played a lot of different people from all walks of life. One of the unique things about Anna’s work, however, is that the entire script is written in first person. Each character is speaking as themselves.

“So that’s different from the general way that theater is written, the storytelling way. Maybe you have one monologue that features the actual words of that person isolated by themselves. This whole show is that.”

The last few years have also seen her workshopping an original dramatic work, Five Black Women, around the bay area.

Five Black Women is still up and thriving,” she explains. “There have been previews, and it was supposed to go up again this fall, but of course with everything that’s happening in the world, it will not. If we’re blessed to have it, towards the tail end of the 2021-22 season, I probably will start touring the work again.”

Which brings us to Twilight, a multi-character piece Smith wrote in the aftermath of the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police, and the ensuing riots, 28 years ago.

“Anna said she had done two or three thousand interviews, and Twilight is basically like a compilation of all of these interviews, the actual people. You get everyone’s perspective.”

There’s no right or wrong in the narrative, she insists, just perspectives. Twenty-seven of them, in fact, all personified by Andresia Moseley over two hours.

“The show in its original form had 43 characters,” she says. “I play different genders, different nationalities, different age groups. I play different perspectives. I play people from Rodney King’s family. I play police officers. I play people who were bystanders, people who got shot, people that were involved in beatings … all of that.”

Each character, Moseley explains, is a “co-narrator.” And in the big picture, they’re all telling a slightly different version of the exact same story.

“Everybody, for whatever reason, thought they were the victim,” the actress says. “Like the police force says we didn’t really do anything, it wouldn’t have been this way if it hadn’t been for this. The prosecuting attorneys say it wouldn’t have been this way if they’d have done that.

“Then you have the people from the Korean stores that were invaded that felt like the Black people were the problem. The Black people felt like the cops were the problem. And you had this cacophony of everybody saying ‘I’m the victim in this.’

“And in their own way, a lot of them were.”

There was to be an earlier reunion of actress and director. In March, Moseley was a co-star (with Jenkins) in Jobsite’s interpretation of Doubt: A Parable, which fell victim to the pandemic.

Doubt closed on opening night!” she recalls. “We got a preview in, and then we had to get gone. So it’s really good to be coming back and working together, and working together on a project that’s as powerful as Twilight really is.”

Twilight: Los Angeles (1992) opens Nov. 17. Details and tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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