WCU livestreaming “Anne and Emmett” production Saturday night

WCU livestreaming “Anne and Emmett” production Saturday night
“Anne and Emmett” premiered at the United States Holocaust Museum in June 2009. (Source: William Carey University)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - William Carey University Theatre will live stream their production of a drama Saturday night.

The play, “Anne and Emmett,” was written by 25-year print and broadcast journalism veteran, Janet Langhart Cohen, as it focuses on an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both being teenagers when they died after being victims of racial intolerance.

The drama takes place in a place called “Memory,” where they look into each other’s surprisingly similar lives and the oppression from which the world was unwilling or unable to protect them.

“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 a half a word, 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 and the characters and cast will star the following people:

  • Emmett Till - Ace Alexander Martin of Hattiesburg
  • Emmett’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 was published after her death, as it told the story of how her family hid in concealed rooms from 1942-44 during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, but they 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 it sparked the modern American Civil Rights Movement.

Emmett was a teenager from Chicago visiting family in Money, Ms., and he was tortured and murdered in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman.

Emmett’s mother’s demand for an open casket funeral made the brutal treatment of her son obvious, shocked the nation into action and struck a movement of justice.

Anne and Emmett talk about the injustices they faced and the events that led to their deaths while being isolated from the violence of their lives in Memory, 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!"

The live stream of WCU’s production of “Anne and Emmett” will be free and will begin at 7 p.m. Visit here for online access.

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