by Paul Rehac, Alumni and current MALS Student
I went to see The Mountaintop on Saturday night at the Subversive Theater. For those who don’t know, it is the story of the night before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. It was a powerful performance by two talented actors that clearly have a passion for the material they were given to work within. The intimacy of the Subversive theater played so well into this work, a stark set of the Memphis motel room that was the scene of Dr. King’s final hours, that as an audience member you feel like part of the dialogue (or at the very least like one of Hoover’s eavesdropping FBI agents).
As the playbill warns the audience up front, this is no hagiography, the character of Dr. King portrayed here is eminently flawed and afraid and tired- but most of all human. Actor Jonathan Lee plays a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who is a loving, caring father and husband that is exhausted from the trials and tribulations of being a key leader of the struggle for civil rights. Lee evokes the complex character of Dr. King, a pious and righteous preacher who is sorely tempted by simple pleasures of the flesh. Candace Whitfield balances Lee’s Dr. King with a vulnerable but fiercely independent and challenging foil for the final hours of his preparation to martyrdom, as the waitress who brings his last room service. The show is fascinating history and tragic mythology, a deeply compelling story that both informed and shocked me, but most of all it left me with a far deeper empathy and understanding for a man I was pretty sure I already knew.
Tickets are still available at the ESC discount price of $7.00 for any performance. Call Jane Cudmore at 686-7836. The play runs through March 1st. The Mountaintop Performance Schedule