More than 50 years after the murder of Emmett Till, Mike Wiley will bring Till and a dozen other characters to life in his one-man play, “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till.”
The Mississippi premiere of “Dar He” is Feb. 3-4. Performances are set for Saturday, Feb. 3, at 3 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church in Marks and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at Tougaloo College’s Holmes Hall Auditorium.
The free performances are open to the public and sponsored by the Center for Ministry at Millsaps College, the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at The University of Mississippi and the ICOHM Department and Religious Studies Program at Tougaloo.
“Dar He” chronicles the 1955 visit of 14-year-old Till to Money, Till’s murder after he whistled at a white woman, the trial of his accused killers and the trial’s aftermath. In addition to young Emmett, Wiley portrays Till’s mother, the owner of the store where Till saw the woman, a law enforcement officer, a juror from the trial and others.
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward saw the play in June in North Carolina and approached Wiley about performing “Dar He” in Mississippi. “For all ages, Mike Wiley brings to life the tragic unfolding of Emmett Till’s visit to Mississippi and his murder,” said Ward. “Parents, teachers, and others who want to help young people understand the complexities of racial tensions in the 1960s will find ‘Dar He’ creative and engaging.”
“I was amazed and deeply touched by Mike Wiley’s ‘Dar He’ in June and invited him to Mississippi. I plan to be at the performances here,” Ward added.
The actor has performed across the country. Wiley’s other one-man shows include “One Noble Journey,” the true story of three slaves who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to gain freedom in which Wiley portrays 20 different characters; “A Game Apart,” about Major Leaguer Jackie Robinson; and “Brown vs. Board of Education: 50 Years Later,” the story of the 1954 Supreme Court decision overturning “separate but equal.”
“I have nearly ten years of experience in the field of theatre for young audiences. Unfortunately over the course of those years I found few theatrical resources for African American history,” said Wiley. “Therefore I started a production company specifically to shine light on those untold stories from the African American past.”