Fall 1993 • Vol. XV No. 4 Interview |

The Circle of Confusion: A Conversation with Anna Deavere Smith

Distortion and how to compensate for it was the subject of conversation when Anna Deavere Smith interviewed A. M. Bernstein for her one-woman show Fires in the Mirror at the Public Theatre last summer. The MIT physicist said that if you want to focus on the stars without getting caught in the circle of confusion, you need a telescope big enough to gather in a lot of light. That's what Anna Deavere Smith did in Fires in the Mirror, which took the racial conflict in Crown Heights as its focus. Blacks and Jews had clashed in this Brooklyn neighborhood in August 1991 following a fatal car accident. Gavin Cato, a young black child, was playing on the sidewalk in front of his home when he was struck and mortally wounded. Further aggravating the situation in the minds of the black residents, little Gavin and his sister, also critically injured, were left lying on the sidewalk when a private Jewish ambulance whisked away the driver of the offending vehicle. The three-day riots which followe

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