Posted on Jan 30, 2004

Mark Cryer

Actor and playwright Mark Cryer will present his show, “99,”
on Friday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in Yulman Theater.

Cryer's work (fully titled “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**”) explores the stereotypes that some hold about
African Americans and seeks to eliminate the line between insult and ignorance.

Cryer created the play in response to a racial incident at Hamilton College, where he is a professor, by asking
students, “What is the one question you've always wanted to ask an African
American but were too afraid to ask?”

“The campus was in an uproar so I asked them, 'How long is
our anger?,'” Cryer said after the incident. “So, as soon as I got enough
questions, I thought let's not just stand around complaining but be pro-active,”
he said.

“On any given day we all will ask or answer a hundred
questions or more,” Cryer writes about his play. “Rarely are they about race,
the 'great American secret.'  [This] play
is intended to be the beginning of a conversation, of a dialogue four hundred
years in the making. It is a dialogue that requires courage on all sides of the
race question, the courage to not only ask a question, but also the courage to
answer the questions: who are you, how should I interact with you, what are
your hopes and dreams?”

The show, sponsored by the College's Theater Department, is being staged as part of Black History Month.

Admission is free, but tickets must be picked up at the
Yulman box office before the show. The box office will be open from 3 to 5 p.m. starting Monday, Feb. 9.

For more about Mark Cryer and “99” visit his Web site at