In 1991 a Jewish man driving through Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood lost control of his car and careened onto the sidewalk, killing a seven-year-old Guyanese boy and injuring the boy's cousin. Rumors quickly spread that the driver was intoxicated, that he was speeding and that a private ambulance took away the uninjured driver while ignoring the children pinned under the car. The black residents of Crown Heights took to the streets in anger and killed a Jewish student; three days of racially motivated rioting swept Crown Heights, destroying businesses and injuring more than 100 people. Anna Deavere Smith interviewed Crown Heights residents, local politicians, writers and artists in an effort to discover if this was all the result of racism and anti-Semitism, or if it was something more complex than blind prejudice. Smith transformed her interviews into the play Fires in the Mirror, a collection of 29 monologues that explore what happened and why. Mustard Seed Theatre presents Fires in the Mirror at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday (January 28 through February 7) at the Fontbonne University Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; 314-719-8060 or www.mustardseedtheatre.com). Tickets are $20 to $35.
Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Jan. 28. Continues through Feb. 7, 2010