Re-examining the shooting of Michael Brown Jr

Dael Orlandersmith's acclaimed Until The Flood at the 2019 Galway International Arts Festival

Michael Brown Jr.

Michael Brown Jr.

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr, an 18-year-old African-American, was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St Louis.

Wilson said the altercation ensued when Brown attacked him in his police vehicle for control of Wilson's gun until it was fired. Brown's friend, Dorian Johnson, who was with him when the incident took place, said Wilson initiated a confrontation by grabbing Brown by the neck through his car window, threatening him, and then shooting at him.

At this point, Brown and Johnson fled, with Wilson pursuing. Wilson stated Brown stopped and charged him after a short pursuit. Johnson however, said Brown turned around, with his hands raised, after Wilson shot at his back. According to Johnson, Wilson then shot Brown multiple times until Brown fell to the ground. In the entire altercation, Wilson fired 12 bullets. Brown was hit a total of six times from the front.

The incident led to protests and unrest, and brought the Black Lives Matter movement to wide attention. Multiple witnesses saw part or all of the event and have given interviews to the media, testified to the grand jury, and were interviewed by the US Department of Justice.

All of this is captured in Until The Flood, a theatre show written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith, which will be performed in The Mick Lally Theatre, Druid Lane, from Monday July 22 to Saturday 27 as part of the Galway International Arts Festival.

'From interviews with witnesses, Orlandersmith created eight characters who embody a community struggling to come to terms with these events'

Travelling to the region a few months after the shooting, Orlandersmith conducted interviews with dozens of people who were affected by the shooting and its aftermath. From these conversations, she has created eight characters who embody a community struggling to come to terms with the personal damage caused by these events. The New York Times called it "an urgent moral inquest", while Variety said it was "eye opening and quietly moving".

Doors are at 8pm (matinees are 2pm on Thursday July 25 and Saturday 27 ). Tickets are €25/22 via www.giaf.ie

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