Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
February 5, 1999

Crown Heights-based drama plays this month

by Anne Dolan

ISU Theatre opens its spring lineup this month with six performances of Fires in the Mirror, a play based on 1991 race riots in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, N.Y. When an Orthodox Jewish man's car jumped a curb, killing a 6-year-old black boy, black neighbors responded by stabbing to death a Jewish rabbinical student. Riots followed, interrupting the neighborhood's previous tolerance for its many cultures and races.

Playwright Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 50 Crown Heights residents, activists, religious and political leaders, gang members and victims to write the play, which portrays 26 of those she met.

ISU theater faculty member and director Shirley Basfield Dunlap has adapted Smith's drama for a 10-member cast. Cast members play multiple roles, some of races and gender not their own.

New York City designer Sarah Eckert is the guest set and costume designer. Her costumes include clothing purchased in Crown Heights.

Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27. A 2 p.m. matinee show will be performed on Sunday, Feb. 21. All performances are in Fisher Theater. Tickets are $9, with discounts for seniors and students, and are available at the Iowa State Center ticket office and all TicketMaster locations.

Fires in the Mirror is an event of the George Washington Carver All-University Celebration.

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