William Carey University Theatre will livestream its production of the powerful and timely drama, “Anne and Emmet,” on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m.
“Anne and Emmett” focuses on an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both teenagers when they died, victims of racial intolerance. The play happens in a place called “Memory,” where they explore their surprisingly similar lives and the oppression from which the world was unwilling or unable to protect them.
The play was written by Janet Langhart Cohen, a 25-year veteran of print and broadcast journalism. “Anne and Emmett” premiered at the United States Holocaust Museum in June 2009.
“I have wanted to produce this play for nearly two years,” said Tim Matheny, chair of the WCU Theatre Department.
“The power of Mrs. Cohen’s play is the discovery that these two children, separated by a decade and half a world, have such similar experiences. It is a timely and important story for people to experience and we are thankful to the Mississippi Humanities Council for their support in helping us bring it to the people of Mississippi.”
Matheny is the director of the production. The one-act play’s characters and cast are:
Emmett Till – Ace Alexander Martin of Hattiesburg
Emmet’s mother, Mamie – Sharon Miles of Hattiesburg
Anne Frank – Julia Mixon of Sumrall
Anne’s father, Otto – Shelby Sheffield of Picayune
One of Emmett’s murderers, J.W. – Avery Freel of Ocean Springs
Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl whose diary, published after her death, told the story of how her family hid in concealed rooms from 1942-44 during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Anne and her family were eventually captured, and she died in a concentration camp. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is one of the best-known books in the world.
Emmett Till’s story is lesser known around the world – but sparked the modern American Civil Rights Movement. A teenager from Chicago visiting family in Money, Miss., Till was tortured and murdered in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman. His mother’s insistence on an open casket funeral made the brutal treatment of her son obvious, shocked the nation into action and spurred a movement for justice.
Although isolated from the violence of their lives in the place called Memory, Anne and Emmett talk about the injustices they faced, and the events that led to their deaths, recognizing the similarities between them.
The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Anne and Emmett should be seen in every school in America!”
WCU Theatre’s production of “Anne and Emmet” will be a free, livestreaming event on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. Visit www.wmcarey.edu/events for online access. The production is financially assisted by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council. For more information, call (601) 318-6218.