Created by Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc
Directed by Nataki Garrett
Conjuring the specter of Emmett Till's murder, a nightmarish reverie on white violence and silence in America
Special Encore Engagement
Streaming Free Online
November 9 - 22
Emmett “Bobo” Till, a 14-year old Chicago youth, walked into a store in Money, Mississippi to purchase 5-cents worth of bubble gum from Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year old, white mother of two. Within a few days of this interaction, Till’s beaten and bloated body was found tied to a cotton-gin fan in a shallow part of the Tallahatchie River. Bryant’s husband Roy and his brother JW Milan would be acquitted of Till’s murder by an all-white male jury, only to confess to the murder a year later in a Look Magazine article. Carolyn Bryant maintained a public silence about that day for six decades, until 2017.
What happened in those fateful minutes shared between Bryant and Till in the store? Creators Nataki Garrett (Artistic Director at Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Andrea LeBlanc (Associate Dean of the CalArts School of Theater) layer historical transcripts, video imagery, and re-imagined encounters to expose what lies beneath the exchange between Carolyn Bryant and Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. Piecing together fragments of a distant era, Garrett and LeBlanc’s excavation traces terrifying parallels to America today.
To learn more, a deep dive conversation between Garrett and LeBlanc is available from Art Talk, one of more than 200 free program offerings available from Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s immersive digital content platform O!. The play was also selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick—read the review here.