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The Mountaintop

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Katori Hall

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5016

SHOWING : January 12, 2017 - February 12, 2017

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

After delivering his memorable "I’ve Been to the Mountaintop" speech, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. retires to his room at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis and orders a cup of coffee. When Camae, the mysterious maid with a much greater mission in mind arrives, THE MOUNTAINTOP re-imagines Dr. King’s last night on earth. This magical encounter filled with humor and history informs his destiny and legacy.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Eric J. Little
Camae Cynthia D. Barker
Martin Luther King, Jr. Neal A Ghant
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REVIEWS

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Motel Hell
by playgoer
Sunday, January 15, 2017
3.5
Katori Hall’s "The Mountaintop" shows us a tired Martin Luther King, Jr. retiring to his motel room in Memphis. He rings up room service for a late-night cup of coffee, and the delivery person appears at first to be a feisty, star-struck but profane chambermaid. As the long one-act play proceeds, there is a sudden change to the realm of religious magic as Dr. King has a spell of breathing problems. That’s when the play lost me.

The set by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay depicts a worn motel room, far bigger and far less attractive than Trevor Carrier’s recent set for "Singles in Agriculture." There are stage tricks that occur at the end of the show that explain some of the flimsier and rough aspects of the set, but it’s pretty unattractive overall and stagey in terms of Sarah Thompson’s scenic painting. Mr. Carrier’s props are far more impressive. Sound (by Thom Jenkins), costumes (by the Curley-Clay sisters), and lighting (by André C. Allen) do what they need for the show without unduly impressing. Bobby Johnston’s projections aren’t given a reflective background to appear on, and so appear rather muddied.

Eric J. Little’s direction gives the script its full due, and Neal Ghant and Cynthia D. Barker are absolutely splendid in their roles as Dr. King and Camae. The acting and direction can’t be faulted in this show; it’s the script’s foray into the realm of magical realism that strains credibility without the balance of feeling poetically correct. Its final speech detailing black history following the assassination of Dr. King aims for the stars, but barely rises to the height of a reasonably modest mountaintop. The play ably humanizes Dr. King, but the future of his legacy doesn’t resonate in the ending of the play, although it makes a mighty attempt. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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