FJT and Pittsburgh Public Theater Playtime tackle Black-Jewish relations with 'Fires in the Mirror.'

Tune in tonight at 6 p.m. for an online play reading of Fires in the Mirror by Anna Deavere Smith, directed by FJT Artistic Director Tim Rhoze and featuring professor Bria Walker, FJT Associate Director.

Click here to start streaming and use the password PlayTime; or visit the Pittsburgh Public Theatre Facebook page.


About Fires in the Mirror

On Monday, Aug. 19, 1991, at around 8:20 p.m., in a small enclave in Brooklyn, New York, two Black children, a boy and a girl playing with their bicycle on Utica Avenue, were accidentally struck by one of the vehicles in the motorcade of the Grand Rebbe, the leader of the Chabad, a Jewish religious movement.


The young boy, seven-year-old Gavin Cato, tragically died. His seven-year- old cousin Angela was seriously injured. The intense moments that immediately followed and the riotous aftermath over the next three days, including the murder of Yankel Rosebaum, a Jewish Australian graduate student, would expose this unique enclave, called Crown Heights, as a powder keg awaiting to be ignited.

In the years leading up to the infamous 1991 event, the Hasidic Jewish community, as well as the African American and Caribbean American communities, wrestled with defining, defending and maintaining cultural and racial identities in the borough's close quarters. Playwright Anna Deavere Smith set out to interview more than 100 people who were either directly connected to the actual accident and the ensuing riots, or were notable people who had a profoundly visceral response to it.

Smith selected 26 of the 100 interviews and shaped them into this one-woman play called Fires In the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities. The play invites you to hear first-hand eyewitness accounts, conjectures, and introspective commentary from multiple points of view. Check your prejudices at the door.

About Playtime Pittsburgh Public Theater's Playtime is an online play reading series that takes place each Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. CDT. The events are free of charge, but all donations received during the presentation will be shared with the artists.


This event is free of charge. Donations can be sent to: Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre Noyes Cultural Arts Center 927 Noyes Street Evanston, IL 60201

Checks payable to Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

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