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FIRES IN THE MIRROR Opens March 11 at Trustus

In the mid-90's Trustus Theatre presented a unique entertainment option: a one-woman show which tackled issues of personal identity and race through an expose' of almost 30 characters during the Crown Heights riots; all played by Columbia favorite Jocelyn Sanders. Now, in its 25th Anniversary Season Trustus is bringing this blistering piece back to their intimate 50-seat Trustus Black Box Theatre for another inimitable night of Columbia theatre. Anna Deveare's Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities opens to the public in the Trustus Black Box on Thursday, March 11th at 7:30pm.

For the uninitiated, Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities by Tony and Pulitzer nominated playwright Anna Deveare is an exploration of many characters during the Crown Heights riots, which took place August 1991 and lasted several days. Longstanding resentments, fears and sensational rumors fed on an automobile accident on August 19th, 1991 at 8:30 p.m. and erupted into neighborhood violence. The accident involving a Jewish Hasidic driver caused the injury of one Black child and the death of another. When the driver of the station wagon, Yosef Lifsh, stepped out of his car, he was set upon by angry black bystanders who beat and robbed him before the police could reach the scene. The NYPD, fearful of an angry mob, directed the Hatzolah ambulance, a Jewish community ambulance which arrived on the scene, to take the driver to the hospital before a city ambulance took the injured children. Fires... boasts a total of 29 monologues, each one focusing on a different character's opinion and point of view of the events and issues surrounding the crisis. The result is a stirring and provoking night of theatre.

When Trustus Artistic Director Jim Thigpen approached Jocelyn Sanders about presenting an encore performance of Fires... in the 25th Anniversary Season he knew he needed Sander's precision and detailed performance for this show to happen. "There's no way we could bring this show back without her," said Thigpen. "Her performance in the first production astounded the entire Trustus Company, the staff, and the audiences. When you were watching it, there was no doubt that you were witnessing something really special on stage." The original Trustus production of Fires In the Mirror... was produced on the Main Stage, but for the return of this show Thigpen wanted to bring it to the intimate 50-seat Trustus Black Box Theatre for an unforgettable night. "The intimacy of the Black Box is perfect for this show," said Thigpen. "Jocelyn's performance is so dynamic that it only makes sense to bring the audience closer so that they have an even more captivating and discovery-filled evening in the theatre."

Once Sanders agreed to reprise the 29 roles of Fires in the Mirror..., Thigpen chose popular Columbia director and Trustus company member Dewey Scott Wiley (Rent, Evita) to lead the revival. Many Columbia theatre-goers are familiar with Dewey Scott Wiley's popular and engaging productions of Rent, Pounding Nails in the Floor With My Forehead, Evita, and Reefer Madness: The Musical.

"We had such a great run last month when we brought Pounding Nails Into the Floor With My Forehead back to the Black Box," said Jim Thigpen. "This is another one of those shows you just don't see everyday, and if you get a chance to experience it then you're lucky" Shows like Fires... have made Trustus Theatre what it is today. The theatre's long-standing mission has sought to bring works onto the Trustus stage that make audiences consider the human experience. Asking: "Why are we the way we are?", "Why do we react the way we do?", "What is it to be human?" This show is no exception to that mission, and Trustus is excited to bring this classic back to the Capital City.

Anna Deveare's Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities opens on Thursday, March 11th at 7:30pm in the Trustus Black Box. It runs through March 20th, with Thursday shows at 7:30pm and Friday and Saturday shows at 8:00pm.

Trustus Theatre is located at 520 Lady Street, behind the Gervais St. Publix. Parking is available on Lady St. The Trustus Black Box Theatre is located on the Huger side of the building, through the glass doors.

For more information call the box office Tuesdays through Saturdays 1-6 pm at 803-254-9732. Visit for all show information and season info.


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