As this reviewer watched Roger Guenveur Smith spark and sway in entranced poetry dance as part of a fitting tribute to King's public life as Rodney King and private life as Rodney Glen, she arrived at the realization that a typical critique of this black man's rap about a black man's struggle seemed to be somehow wrong.
It would be yet another white person's attempt to pin down (or, in this case, pen down) the black experience.
The pen would be one more weapon used to define Rodney Glen King.
So, she looked to her own Midwestern experience - to what she knows from the inside out - and has captured her impressions of Roger Guenveur Smith's solo show "Rodney King" in a recipe for casserole:
One versatile actor, preferably an icon of the solo performance genre, an historian with disciplined perspicacity who, because of his race and status as both a public and private man, would lend a certain empathy
One black box theater in a Los Angeles neighborhood known for its racial and economic diversity - home to both Hollywood heroines and working class immigrants
One sound designer with whom the actor has collaborated for exactly 20 years
Themes of duality: black/white, public/private, heroic/flawed, cop/civilian, violent/zen, dead/alive (and infinitessimal others) and, of course, justice: wrong versus right and horror versus truth
Place the actor, dressed in black, on a white rectangle in a black box, hand him a microphone with long electric cord and witness his genius improvisations that function as incantations, summoning to the fore of everyone's consciousness the great tragedy of racism.
Enjoy the versatile actor's collaboration with sound guru Marc Anthony Thompson as their geniuses collide into to a lasting high-culture clash.
Put into play the nuanced (and made-up-on-the-spot) text packed with literary might.
Sprinkle on top crisp CHP and LAPD sirens to remind us not only of the facts of King's travails but of the urgency of our collective need to rise above violence and division.
Millions, as that is how many were and are affected by the story of King, who was both a complicated man and enduring symbol of race-, class- and autocrat-civilian relations, as we work to evolve this alleged democracy so that all, not just some, might be enduringly free.
Those who appreciate casserole, which is really a collection of disparate but equally awesome foodstuffs - of whatever is on hand - placed together in the spirit of the question - the question Rodney Glen King so eloquently asked, "Can we all get along?"
Roger Guenveur Smith's one-man show "Rodney King" heats the Bootleg stage every Thursday through Sunday through August 19. Grab this new and evolving show - perhaps more than once - while it's fresh out of the unconventional oven.