Jefferson is an innocent and unwitting party to a deadly liquor store shoot-out in the 1940s. As the only survivor, he is tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grant Wiggins, a university-trained teacher at the plantation school, is persuaded to visit Jefferson in his cell. Wiggins is torn between staying in his native Cajun community or moving on. The 2 men gradually form a bond as they jointly discover the simple heroism of resisting - and denying - the expected.
"Just like the old Sears radio hour"
In 1955 Emmett Till, age 14, traveled from his home in Chicago to visit family in Mississippi. Several weeks later he returned dead; allegedly he had whistled at a white woman. His mother, Mamie, wanted the world to see what had been done to her son. She chose to leave his casket open. Images of her brutalized boy were published widely. While Emmett's story is known, there's a dark sidenote that's rarely mentioned. Ten years earlier Emmett's father had been executed by the army for rape and murder.
In his brilliantly imagined, Obie Award-winning show, Roger Guenveur Smith explores the life of the controversial Black Panther leader through a series of improvisations based on Newton's own words and writings.
Smith's edgy and funny The Watts Towers Project focuses on Simon Rodia, the Italian immigrant who spent 33 years building his towers: only to walk away from them, never to return. Smith blends his own childhood, the life of Rodia, and the last quarter-century of L.A. history to create (in the words of Back Stage West) a "wonderfully eclectic piece".