Theater

Anne and Emmett at AAPACT Through May 12

We all know who Anne Frank is — 19-year-old Canadian pop stars notwithstanding. Most of us, especially civil rights historians and Bob Dylan completists, know who Emmett Till is too: the 14-year-old boy murdered by racists in Mississippi in 1955 after "flirting" with a white woman. The premature deaths of these unintentional symbols of racial and ethnic holocaust were separated by place and time, but in Anne and Emmett, a one-act, postmortem fantasy by playwright Janet Langhart Cohen, they meet and discuss the similarities behind their suffering and cruel fates. Cohen, who is also an actress, is something of a power player in the cultural world, having married former defense secretary William S. Cohen, and she was able to secure Morgan Freeman to record an introduction for her play. This production from AAPACT has received mixed reviews in its first designated play as a professional theater, but most agree that Shawn Burgess is moving and authentic as Emmett Till and that the concept is compelling — prompting viewers to see intolerance and hatred as universal, regardless of color, creed, or orientation.

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John Thomason