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The Hotel Play

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

On April 29, 1992, Los Angeles erupted into chaos and violence after four white police officers were acquitted in the beating of African American Rodney King. The Hotel Play asks what, if anything, has changed in the past 25 years?

The Hotel Play, from the Playwright’s Arena (celebrating 25 years in Los Angeles!) was written by Paula Cizmar, Velina Hasu Houston, Jennifer Maisel, Nahal Navidar, Julie Oni, Janine Salinas Schoenberg, and Laurie Woolery and was directed by Jon Lawrence Rivera. The play was described as “An immersive, site-specific experience. Enter each room at your own risk.” The site: a hotel, a high school 25 year reunion, Los Angeles. The immersion: the audience moves from room to room to witness the characters as they remember their lives, 25 years ago. Race relations, policing, social justice, gender equity, life … are things better?

Throughout this conversation we look at the Rodney King beating trial and verdict in context of the social justice movement in Los Angeles and ask not only what role does art play in the movement, but whether things have indeed gotten better. Join Jody David Armour, Paula Cizmar, Aubrey Hicks, and David Sloane as we think about race, Los Angeles, art, and social movements. We look at the moment that was the uprising in 1992. Community organization which grew out of that moment … became a movement.

The cast and crew of “The Hotel Play” produced by Playwrights’ Arena. #thehotelplay #thehotelplays #playwrightsarena

A post shared by Velina Hasu Houston (@gyokurogirl) on

To listen to the Price Projection Room discussion of The Hotel Play, click the arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or download and subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play.

Links and related reading/listening …

Anne Bray, LA Freewaves
LA Hashtags Itself – LA Freewaves

Stanley Tookie Williams
Governor Didn’t Believe Williams Had Reformed (LA Times)
USC Professor Jody David Armour Gives MCC Lecture on Art and the Black Lives Matter Movement
N.W.A- F*ck the Police, with lyrics
Rampart scandal
How the killing of Latasha Harlins changed South L.A., long before Black Lives Matter (LA Times)
En Vogue – Free Your Mind
Reasonable Fear: The legal standard is the same standard used to establish a well-founded fear of persecution in the asylum context. In contrast to an asylum adjudication, a finding of reasonable fear of persecution cannot be based on past persecution alone, in the absence of a reasonable possibility of future persecution.
Straight Outta Compton: The Profound in the Profane

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This podcast continues our ongoing efforts to bring policy and its impact into the public discourse.

Special thanks to Dean Jack Knott, USC Price and Dean David Bridel, USC School of Dramatic Arts for their support of this interdisciplinary conversation.

This podcast was produced by Aubrey Hicks and Jonathan Schwartz, recorded and mixed by Corey Hedden.


Bedrosian Center