The story of Emmett Till changed the world. The shocking comparison of the hazel eyed beautiful 14 year old African American boy displayed next to the unrecognizable corpse of himself could not be ignored. The story couldn’t be hidden even down in the delta where pitch black roads thick with southern heat and the hatred of prejudice gathered with pride.
Decades later the death of Emmett Till still presents a tear in the racial fabric of America. A nation still divided and in the midst of turmoil with unjustified killings and racial profiling of African American men and women by a corrupt judicial system. Emmett Till could very well be Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice. A startling truth etched in the weary eyes of black mothers praying over their sons.
And then comes
Photo Credit: Mike Wiley Productions
Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till
I had the pleasure of attending this show yesterday. I knew nothing of the production crew or cast, I simply knew that if there was a play about Emmett Till then I surely wanted to see it. Within a few minutes of sitting, I overheard a woman behind me stating that she hoped it wasn’t a one man show. Well let me tell you, it was, and it was the best one man show I have ever seen in my life. From the moment Mr. Mike Wiley began talking he captured and held the attention of every person within the theater. His ease in transitioning from one character to the next, buoyantly bringing forth new accents and mannerisms was something to be admired.
There were times during the show that a deafening silence fell over the room. Other times, you could some individuals shifted nervously in their seats. Mr. Wiley’s ability to portray Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam was fascinating but it was his ability to bring Emmett Till to life that was most profound. He put movement to what I’d only known by pictures as a face of a grave injustice. The entire audience was on their feet by the end of the show, including the woman who wasn’t looking forward to seeing a one man show!
Thank you Mr. Wiley for your continued work, for using your talent to bring life to issues others would rather soon be forgotten. From one playwright to another, you renewed my faith and gave me a breath of fresh air.
You can find more about Mike Wiley below:
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