In 1955, a 14-year-old black Chicago youth traveled to the Mississippi Delta with country kinfolk and southern cooking on his mind. He walked off the train and into a world he could never understand — a world of thick color lines, of hard-held class systems and unspeakable taboos. Young Emmett crossed that line and stepped into his gruesome fate by whistling at a white woman. Through conversations with a Look magazine journalist, Emmett’s mother and others caught up in the events that led to Till’s devastating fate, this riveting, one-actor, multiple-character original play written and performed by Mike Wiley and directed by Serena Ebhardt, chronicles the murder, trial and unbelievable confessions of the men accused of Till’s murder. This performance is recommended for ages 12 and up.
To learn more about this production, visit http://mikewileyproductions.com/#s-performances.
“Dar He Is The Best of the Best… a devastating dramatization of one of the most infamous murders of the Civil Rights era… so packed with intense, tight characterizations and creatively-portrayed locales that we were rapt from the very first word. Those first words are spoken by Look reporter William Bradford Huey, as he begins to tell us what he learned from the men responsible for the death of 14-year-old Emmett “Bo” Till. Wiley is a marvel to watch as the characters he portrays appear and disappear before us. Wiley recreates Till, Huey, and all of the other characters with a depth and clarity that make each one readily identifiable, and as distinct as an entire cast of players could make them.”
– Robert McDowell, Triangle Theatre Reviews
Acclaimed actor and playwright Mike Wiley has spent the last decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre to young audiences and communities across the country. In the early days of his career, Wiley found few theatrical resources to shine a light on key events and figures in African-American history. To bring these stories to life, he started his own production company.
Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Tim Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and The Parchman Hour, an ensemble production celebrating the bravery and determination of the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to desegregate Southern interstate bus travel in 1961.
Mike Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has also appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.