Fires in the Mirror

Walmart # 558383911

Fires in the Mirror

Walmart # 558383911
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Last year's acclaimed off-Broadway play is as much a commentary on current racial tensions as it is a work of drama. Award-winning writer and solo performer Smith derived her scripts from interviews with people who experienced or observed New York's 1991 Crown Heights racial riots. As seen on PBS. Photos.

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Although this was definit

Although this was definitely meant to be staged as opposed to read, it's still worth discovering as a reader since subtleties of character are explored (and in some cases explained or defended, in relation to the writer's choices as based on the real people who are characters are based off of). It does start off slowly. Since the beginning of the book examine the context of the play, and the deaths that set off the Crown Hill riots in the early 90s, the reader is invested in those events. The beginning of the play itself, though, after setting out the deaths, takes a step back to discover Jewish and African American life in the area, before moving forward to what the reader was expecting. The choice makes sense, in terms of power and in terms of the writer's goal, but it does make for something of a slow-down, and I have to admit that I also felt the last pieces of the play were short in comparison. That said, I have a feeling the introductions have something to do with that--they built up Smith's project and the play in such a way that I was expecting a lot, whereas I might have been more impressed with the play itself had I not read those introductions. They are worthwhile, and there's nothing to really be given away a might happen with another work's introduction, but it's worth noting for readers who are heading into this. Of course, whether or not the play would be so powerful without some of that extra understanding... well, it's a catch-22, I suppose. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have found my way to the play, and I'd certainly recommend it to readers who are interested in the events/relations at the heart of it, or interested in documentary-type and interview-based performance pieces.
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