Collaboraction’s Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till reveals the courage it took for Emmett Till’s uncle, Mose Wright, played by Darren Jones (left), to point out J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant during the 1955 trial. Adia Alli (right, back to camera), played Mamie-Till Bradley in the 2022 enhanced reading at DuSable. Photos by Joel Maisonet.
Collaboraction Theatre's Emmy-winning teleplay, Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till, returns for a live, fully-produced stage production during Black History Month.
Collaboraction Theatre announces the cast and design team for Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till, a live, fully-produced stage production during Black History Month, running February 9-19, 2023 at and co-presented with The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center. Tickets, $30-$55, are on sale at collaboraction.org. I'll be out for the press opening on February 11th, so check back soon for my full review.
Trial in the Delta plays like a live, interactive reenactment experience of the actual court proceedings that occurred in Sumner, Mississippi in 1955, using only the same words that were actually said during the trial.
Key characters based in real life include judge Curtis Swango, defense attorney J.J. Breeland, district attorney Gerald Chatham, and J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, the two men found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till, one of the most monumental injustices of the U.S. legal system in the 20th century.
To bring the once-hidden trial to life, Collaboraction commissioned Chicago playwrights G. Riley Mills and Willie Round to co-adapt the original 354-page transcript into a 90-page immersive theatrical reenactment of what actually occurred in that 1955 rural Mississippi courtroom. Collaboraction Artistic Director Anthony Moseley and Company Member Dana Anderson are co-directors.
Trial in the Delta is a live, interactive reenactment of the actual court proceedings that occurred in Sumner, Mississippi in 1955, using only the same words that were actually said during the trial.
“Once in a lifetime, if we are lucky, a project like this comes along and all we can do is play our part to serve the greater good of telling an important story and belonging to each other,” said Moseley. “There are many plays about Emmett Till, but they are fictions created out of horrid facts that only guess at the actual language. When audiences experience how everything actually went down in that Mississippi courtroom, the impact is even more profound.”
Actors playing witnesses for the defense and prosecution, including Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Bradley, his uncle, Mose Wright, and others will be seated among the audience, bringing the courtroom action to vivid life.
Perri Irmer, President and CEO of The DuSable, said “Trial in the Delta allows contemporary audiences to experience this flagrant and historic racial injustice of our legal system. Placed in the context of today's much-publicized trials against Black men, this new work also illuminates ways in which history repeats itself.”
Trial in the Delta launches its run with a student matinee, Thursday, February 9 at 10:30 a.m. Public performances follow Friday and Saturday, February 10 and 11 at 7 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 16-18 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m.
Each performance will be followed by a Crucial Conversation introduced by Pilar Audain, associate director, Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Greater Chicago.
Run time is two hours. Each performance will be followed by a Crucial Conversation introduced by Pilar Audain, associate director, Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Greater Chicago, housed at The Chicago Community Trust, and lead writer/performer/guide of Collaboraction's recent "healing theater" production, Moonset Sunrise.
Tickets to Trial in the Delta are $30-$55, and are on sale at collaboraction.org.
The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center is located at
740 E. 56th Place in Chicago’s Hyde Park community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on student and group rates, and private event performances. Trial in the Delta is recommended for ages 12 and up.
For more information, visit collaboraction.org, or follow the company onTwitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or YouTube.
Trial in the Delta is a highlight of Chicago Theatre Week, an annual celebration of the rich tradition of theater-going in Chicago during which visitors and residents can access value-priced tickets. A program of the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago, Chicago Theatre Week runs February 16-26, 2023. Learn more atChicagoTheatreWeek.com.
Trial in the Delta: Behind the scenes
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