The Prizery will present a program in its One Community Initiative series at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, with a screening of the award-winning film “Dar He: The Lynching of Emmett Till,” and a conversation with the filmmaker, Mike Wiley.
Tickets are $5 and are available by calling The Prizery Box Office at 434-572-8339.
Dar He is the true story of 14-year-old Emmett Till, pulled directly from the public record of the murder that became a lightning rod for moral outrage and which was pivotal in inspiring a whole generation of young people to commit to social change in the 1950s.
The film was adapted from the acclaimed one-man play written and performed by Mike Wiley, similarly titled, “Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till.” Remarkably, in the play and the film, Wiley plays all 36 characters.
Wiley is also the author and screenwriter.
Wiley notes that by playing all of the characters, black and white, male and female, there is the opportunity for people to see themselves in all of them.
On Wiley’s website, he states his mission in writing about and performing historical events dealing with racism is to dispel fear of the unknown.
“When we were children, we were scared of the dark…because we didn’t know what was in the dark. We thought that box in the corner was a monster, because we didn’t have the lights on to tell us that it was just a box. But when the lights came on…the fear disappeared. The same logic can be applied to our perceptions of other cultures or religions or races. We turn the light on. We figure out who they are. We learn about them. Then we’re not afraid of them anymore.”
The purpose of The Prizery’s One Community Initiative is to build awareness and bridges of connection across the community through experiences with arts and humanities.
Audiences should be aware that there is racial language in the film that is authentic to the time period and may be offensive to hear. The filmmakers believe it is important to convey the reality of the historical context and so have included it.
Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he also has appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.
For more information about Wiley and his work, visit mikewileyproductions.com.
Funding from Virginia Humanities for The Prizery’s One Community Initiative is helping to support the program.
Virginia Humanities connects people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. As the state humanities council, Virginia Humanities reaches millions in its estimated annual audience through festivals, grants, fellowships, digital initiatives, teacher institutes, radio programs, podcasts, apprenticeships and school programs. Headquartered at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Humanities works to serve Virginians in every corner of the commonwealth. To learn more, visit VirginiaHumanities.org.
Tickets for the film and conversation with Wiley are $5 and are available by calling The Prizery Box Office at 434-572-8339 online at www.Prizery.com and at the door.