Anne and Emmett
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Anne & Emmett is an imaginary conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, both victims of racial intolerance and hatred. Anne Frank, portrayed by Mary Charles Johnson, is the 15-year-old Jewish girl who died in 1945 and whose Diary provided a gripping perspective of the Holocaust. Emmett Till portrayed by Darrick Brown is the 14-year old African-American boy whose brutal murder in 1955 in Mississippi sparked the Modern American Civil Rights Movement.
The play opens with the two teenagers meeting in Memory, a place that isolates them from the cruelty they experienced during their lives. The beyond-the-grave encounter draws the startling similarities between the two youths' harrowing experiences at the hands of societies that couldn't protect them.
Anne recounts hiding in a cramped attic with her family after German dictator Adolf Hitler ordered the Nazi military to round up Jewish people throughout Europe and put them in concentration camps en route to gas chambers. At the age of 15, Anne died of typhus at the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in March 1945, a few weeks before British troops liberated the camp.
Emmett tells Anne how he, in 1955, ended up being brutally attacked by two white racists who beat and tortured him before shooting him in the head and tossing his body into the Tallahatchie River with a cotton gin fan tied to his neck. This happened after he whistled at a white woman while visiting his uncle in Money, Mississippi.
This powerful and moving piece helps us deal with the terrible reality extracting valuable lessons from the tragic lives of Anne and Emmett that should have never happened to begin with. Although graphic, the play appeals to all ages but especially those of Anne and Emmett's age, lest they never know or are allowed to forget. Their cry and the goal of writer Janet Langhart Cohen is a call to action to Stop the Hate: Tikkun Olam! We are not doomed to repeat the past if we listen to their voices.
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