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Performance of “Anne and Emmet” for EMU’s MLK Celebration

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 12:07 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Anne and Emmett was written by Janet Langhart Cohen.

“It compares the stories between Anne Frank, the young Jewish woman with the diary, and Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who went down to Mississippi and was murdered,” Thaddeus Jackson, who plays the role of Emmett Till, explained. “It puts the hypothetical question of what if we compared their lives and their deaths and how the differences between World War II Nazi Germany and how it affected the Jews and racism in America.”

The production has been in the works for years, bringing together community leaders such as Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed and EMU students. Mayor Reed will play the role of Mamie Till.

Organizers say they hope the play brings attention to the parts of history that are repeating.

“I think that the racism and intolerance struggle continues. The play highlights that from the past but also brings us into the present-day at least from a thought process that these things that happened so long ago weren’t really so long ago. and that the march continues and the struggle continues,” Celeste Thomas said.

Thomas is the producer of the play. She says she hopes by the end of the show, the audience is inspired to speak up.

“The silence is what helped to kill Emmett Till, the silence is what helped kill Anne Frank,” Thomas said. “If you are a part of something and you are silent in it then you are compliant in it, we want to show people what speaking up can do. We’re showing them what silence can d. Now we want you to step forward and speak up.”

The show is directed by EMU graduate student, Ezrionna Prioleau.

There are several live performances from Friday to Monday, January 17. Read more about the show and purchase tickets by clicking here.

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