Friday, September 19, 2008

UIS to present performance of multimedia play "99 Questions"

99 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask an African American but Were Too Afraid for Fear They’d Break Their Foot Off in Your A**, a new multi-media play addressing stereotypes commonly held about African Americans, will be presented beginning at 7 p.m., Wednesday, October 1, in the Studio Theatre, lower level of the Public Affairs Center at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The performance is free and open to the public.

Created by actor/playwright/professor Mark Cryer (above left) in response to a racial slur written on a college student's door, 99 Questions is an attempt to break down barriers and begin conversations about race.

Cryer began his exploration armed with a video camera and a simple offer to anyone who chose to respond to the question "What have you always wanted to ask an African American, but were too afraid?" The result has been called "insightful, funny, poignant, and powerful."

An associate professor at Hamilton College where he teaches a variety of courses in acting and African American theatre, Cryer previously taught at Cornell University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. His other plays include Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, Buzzard Luck, and No Other People. His acting credits include performances off-Broadway, in television, film, and at many regional theatres.

The UIS Theatre program is co-sponsoring the performance, which is also presented as part of the ECCE Speakers Series at UIS -- events that aim to exemplify engaged citizenship as part of the university’s effort to foster appreciation for and practice of diversity and the active effort to make a difference in the world.

Upcoming ECCE programs include "Japan and a Changing Asia," with international security expert R. Michael Schiffer, on October 6; "Lawyers, 'Lawfare,' the War on Terrorism, and the Rule of Law," with law professor Steve Vladeck, on October 9; and a screening and discussion of the documentary "What We Want, What We Believe" on October 13.

See the complete schedule of speakers and topics for the 2008 Fall Semester.

For more information about the performance of "99 Questions," contact Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson, UIS assistant professor of Theatre, at 206-8307.

For information about any ECCE event, contact series coordinator Kimberly Craig at 206-6245 or send an e-mail to