Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen joins Morning Edition every week to highlight the latest happenings in — and around — Boston’s arts and culture scene. This week, two new productions take the stage alongside an art exhibit celebrating Portuguese and Azorean identities.

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
Now playing at the American Repertory Theater through Sept. 24

Written by Anna Deavere Smith, "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" is set immediately following the assault of Rodney King by Los Angeles police. While developing the play, Smith interviewed 350 Los Angeles residents to get a broader understanding of how the events affected the entire community.

This production at the American Repertory Theater features what Bowen called “five skilled actors playing this huge cross-section” of Los Angeles community members, all from various backgrounds and each uniquely affected by the aftermath of Rodney King. "Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992" represents, as Bowen described, “the sad truth, as we're reminded over and over and over again, that even though this happened decades ago, it is still stunningly and horrifically relevant today.”

Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Now playing at the SpeakEasy Stage Company through Oct. 8

"Heroes of the Fourth Turning" follows a very different side and era of social strife. The fictional story is set in 2017, just weeks after the Charlottesville riots, and features a group of young adults in Wyoming visiting the conservative Christian college they all graduated from. The group begins to dissect what it means to be conservative in America, and where their religion, social beliefs and empathy for others fit into that ideology.

Bowen sums up the play as a story of people going from one ideological extreme to the other while “trying to reconcile their place in the world when they feel like there’s liberal group thought being crammed down their throats.” "Heroes of the Fourth Turning" is based on playwright Will Arbery’s life as the son of the president of a conservative Catholic university. The subject is one “you rarely see in the theater, giving a respectful treatment to conservative thought” and garnering a Pulitzer Prize.

This is a  photo from the production of the play, "Heroes of the Fourth Turning." In this scene, five people have gathered  outside, under a dark, starlit sky.  On the left end of the stage, a woman is standing, having a conversation with a man who is standing at the right end of the stage. The three other people are sitting, listening intently to what the two are talking about.
Elise Piliponis, Karen MacDonald, Jesse Hinson, Dayna Cousins, and Nathan Malin in "Heroes of the Fourth Turning."
Photo by Nile Scott Studios. SpeakEasy Stage Company

The Azorean Spirit: The Art of Domingos Rebêlo
Now on view at the New Bedford Whaling Museum through Sept. 25

“The Azorean Spirit” is a retrospective of artist Domingos Rebêlo, who had a 60-year career as a painter after growing up in Portugal. His talent led him to Parisian art school, where he worked with many great artists like Picasso before his return to Portugal. In his work, Rebêlo was “looking at a number of different sectors, including faith and family and fishermen.”

The detail in the paintings is remarkable, with Bowen pointing out how Rebêlo "depicts these really craggy faces, and you can almost smell the sea air in the sweaters that these fishermen are wearing.” The exhibit is an opportunity to not only explore the historical significance of Rebêlo’s work, but also “to see the value of [his] lifetime of work all at once.”

This is a painting of a fisherman who lives and works o  the Portuguese island of São Miguel in the Azores. It is a close up. We see him only from the shoulders up. He is against a blue background, which looks like the sky merging with the sea. We see him in profile; his body is turned to the right and he is  looking downward. He is wearing a green cap, which is pulled downward, shading his face from the sun. He has dark eyebrows and  a dark, prominent mustache. He looks deep in thought. He is wearing a white shirt and we see the very top of his blue coveralls.
Fisherman of Mosteiros, Domingos Rebêlo, 1924, now on view at the New Bedford Whaling Museum
Domingos Rebêlo New Bedford Whaling Museum