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Photo Flash: Firehouse Theatre Presents FIRES IN THE MIRROR

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The play covers the events of the 1991 Brooklyn riots incited by the death of Gavin Cato, a seven year old Black boy.

Firehouse Theatre prents Anna Deavere Smith's FIRES IN THE MIRROR, which runs from Friday March 26 through Sunday April 25, 2021.

The full title of Smith's play is FIRES IN THE MIRROR: CROWN HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN AND OTHER IDENTITIES. She wrote the play after the Crown Heights neighborhood erupted in three days of violent race riots in August, 1991. The riots were incited by the death of Gavin Cato, a seven year old Black boy who was the son of Guyanese immigrants. He was playing on the sidewalk near his apartment and was killed when one of the cars in Rebbe Menachem Schneerson's motorcade jumped the curb. Schneerson was the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Jewish community.

The violence quickly escalated and later that evening Yankel Rosenbaum, an Orthodox Jewish rabbinical student who was visiting from Australia, was murdered by a group of Black youths in retaliation for Cato's death. TIME Magazine was among the many news outlets that reported that the Crown Heights riots were "the worst episode of racial violence in New York City since 1968, after the death of Martin Luther King."

FIRES IN THE MIRROR is constructed from twenty-six monologues that are the verbatim interviews that Smith conducted with a range of subjects including Gavin Cato's father, Yankel Rosenbaum's brother, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Aaron S. Bernstein (a physicist at M.I.T.). Smith performed all the roles in her one-person show when it premiered at The Public Theater (NYC) in 1992.

Go to firehousetheatre.org/fires-in-the-mirror for more information, specific performance schedule, and to purchase tickets.

Photo Credit: Bill Sigafoos


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