On November 7, Theater of Yugen is premiering Emmett Till A River, developed by poet and composer Kevin Simmonds and poet and Yugen Artistic Associate Judy Halebsky, in collaboration with the Yugen Ensemble and Artistic Director Jubilith Moore. Performances will take place at Noh Space in San Francisco.
In 1954, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African American, traveled from Chicago to spend the summer in Money, Mississippi with his uncle Mose Wright. After allegedly whistling at a white woman, he was kidnapped from his uncle’s home, brutally beaten, shot, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. His waterlogged body was returned to Chicago and, at the insistence of his mother Mamie Till, was displayed for thousands at an open casket funeral. The image became a symbol of the civil rights movement.
Emmett Till A River is a poetic rendering of the story of Emmett Till and his mother, an artwork that combines Japanese Noh and religious oratorio, poetry, musical settings of poetry, characters, a chorus, and an instrumental ensemble–all in a concert presentation. Performances run until November 17 and tickets may be purchased through Theater of Yugen’s box office.