Recently, I attended the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Speaker after speaker talked about the civil rights icon as a great leader...as a visionary. The play "The Mountaintop" by award-winning playwright Katori Hall now playing at the UNC's Playmakers through Oct. 6th, affords us the opportunity to see Dr. King as a human being...as a man.
Set on April 3, 1968 in Memphis at the Lorraine Motel, "The Mountaintop" unfolds on the historic last night in the life Dr. King. A visitation from a mysterious woman leads him to confront his innermost thoughts and fears on the stormy evening before his assassination.
Directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges, "The Mountaintop" opens with Dr. King, entering his hotel room on this stormy night. Dr. King is a hard man to emulate and Cedric Mays is slightly more than adequate in the role while on stage alone. I was just not ready to see Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. disheveled, unorganized, and cursing as a result of not enough sleep, drinking too much coffee and smoking too many cigarettes.
|LAKISHA MAY as Camae|
The stage lights up, not only from the lightning, but by Lakisha May, who plays Camae, the sassy, effervescent, and sharp-tongued hotel maid. The two have an exchange of witty banter. They discuss their fears and anxieties, truths and lies in their lives. And then PHOOF...as fast as lightning, Hall takes us in a direction I did not see coming. The dynamics of this new relationship between MLK and Camae turns upwards, and so does Mays' performance. The dynamic use of multimedia is thought provoking.
"The Mountaintop" is an emotionally charged, powerful production that is theatrically magnificent. This is a play that you not only should see, but you NEED to see. It will positively affect your perspective of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement forever!