THE TILL TRILOGY
By Ifa Bayeza
Directed by Talvin Wilks
At the Atlas Performing Arts Center
Featuring Scott W. Abernethy, Anna Theoni DiGiovanni, Drew Kopas, Billie Krishawn, Lolita Marie, Clayton Pelham, Jr., Jefferson A. Russell, Matthew R. Wilson, Jaysen Wright and
Vaughn Ryan Midder as Emmett Till
April 1 - June 21, 2020
The now legendary story of Emmett “Bo” Till remains one of the most pivotal incidents of the 20th Century and is believed, by many, to have launched the start of the modern civil rights movement. Experience the vividness of Emmett's life, the richness of his world, the terrible tragedy of his brutal death, the miscarriage of justice in the trial of his murderers, and the indelible impact of his legacy on those who were left behind.
Made possible by a generous grant from The Roy Cockrum Foundation
PART I. THE BALLAD OF EMMETT TILL
Bayeza’s Edgar Award-winning drama recounts the last two weeks of young Emmett Till's life on his journey from Chicago to Money, Mississippi, revealing his boisterous, stuttering character and his fateful encounter with Caroline Bryant, the young white woman whose accusations led to Emmett’s subsequent murder.
PART II. THAT SUMMER IN SUMNER
This world premiere staging recreates the 1955 trial, “The State of Mississippi vs. Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam for the Murder of Emmett Till.” Drawn from extant courtroom transcript, contemporaneous news accounts, government records and interviews, this new installment condenses the five-day trial into a compact drama, with scenes beyond the courtroom involving civil rights activist Medgar Evers and the investigative black press uncovering crucial facts in the landmark case.
PART III. BENEVOLENCE
Examines broader events surrounding Till’s murder on a more intimate scale. We meet Caroline Bryant, her husband Roy, and his twin brother Ray on the days before and after Emmett’s abduction, leaping forward to the summer of 2006 and the recantation of much of Caroline Bryant’s testimony. Act II is set in the neighboring town of Glendora and follows the relationship of a local black couple, Clinton and Beulah Melton (who are later murdered because of the information they possess), with a concluding epilogue bringing the trilogy to its moving resolution.
Additional funding for The Till Trilogy is provided by the CrossCurrents Foundation in support of Community Conversations.
“Bayeza captures the powerful truths at the heart of the story, creating a soaring work of music, brilliant poetry and theatricality.”
—DC Theatre Scene
"In its intimate, domestic settings, it achieves an epic scale."
Click on each artist for more information
David Lamont Wilson
April E. Carter
Assistant Stage Manager
Claudia Rosales Waters