Ken Tucker
April 30, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fires in the Mirror

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
performer
Anna Deavere Smith
director
George C. Wolfe
author
Anna Deavere Smith
broadcaster
PBS
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

Troubling, moving, and profoundly funny, writer-actress Anna Deavere Smith’s acclaimed 1992 solo stage play, Fires in the Mirror, has been brought to television by American Playhouse. In a brisk succession of scenes, Smith portrays nearly 20 participants and observers of the 1991 riots in Brooklyn sparked by the deaths of a black child and a Hasidic scholar; her words are taken directly from interviews Smith conducted with the people she is embodying. The resulting performance, with Smith taking roles ranging from the Reverend Al Sharpton to feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin, allows nearly every aspect of race, class, and prejudice in America to come boiling to the surface in a way television rarely permits. A

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