From Feb. 12-16, the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Essential Theatre will present the “Mountaintop.” Written by international playwright Katori Hall, the play imagines the last evening of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The entire play is set in the Lorraine Hotel, room 306, the evening before King’s assassination. When he orders a simple cup of coffee from room service, Camae, the housekeeper, swiftly brings much more than a late-night beverage. Star-struck and worldly, she challenges King’s views. What follows is a reflective, comical and touching conversation, during which King examines his achievements, his failures and his unfinished dreams.
During the course of the 90-minute production, Hall covers personal and historical territory relative to King’s life and legacy. The play’s two characters, King (James Webb) and Camae (Marci J. Duncan) discuss race and politics, life and death, doubts and fears, in ways that connect King’s legacy to everyone.
According to Director Luther D. Wells, patrons will see King in a new light.
“The play focuses more on King as a man, than it does on King the icon,” Wells said. “He’s more personal and maybe a little irreverent at times. But, that’s the point. He wasn’t superhuman. He was just as human as anyone else.”
Halls fictionalized portrayal of King has been criticized for taking liberties with dialogue that she created from facts, as well as rumors that circulated during and after his lifetime. As a result, a post-show discussion titled, “King: The Measure of a Man” will follow a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 15. The audience will be encouraged to explore a humanized King and the role of fact and fiction in how we view him today.
“The Mountaintop” will be presented at FAMU’s Charles Winter Wood Theatre. Performances are scheduled Wednesday – Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and culminate with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Ticket prices for Wednesday and Thursday’s preview performances are $8 for general admission and $5 for FAMU students with ID. Admission for the remainder of the play’s run is $15 for adults, $12 for senior citizens and FAMU employees with ID, $8 for non-FAMU students or children and $5 for FAMU students with ID. The play contains adult subject matter and strong language.
On weekdays, box office hours for the play are noon to 5:30 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain. On weekends, tickets will only be available one hour prior to curtain.
For more information, call (850) 561-2840.
Photo: James Webb, as King, and Marci J. Duncan, as Camae the motel housekeeper, rehearse for the FAMU Essential Theatre’s production of “The Mountaintop.”