Greensboro-based theater company Triad Stage and PlayMakers Repertory Company are coming together for the first time to reimagine Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night alive in “The Mountaintop.”
“This play celebrates the legacy of MLK Jr.,” said Preston Lane, artistic director of Triad Stage. “It reminds us that at one point he was going to take us to the mountaintop. He started a journey for freedom and justice and equality in America. We’re carrying on his dream of what greatness America would be capable of.”
Lane said he was excited to co-produce playwright Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” which he said is one of the most significant new American plays today.
“Martin Luther King Jr. is such a pivotal figure in American history. There are so many ways he’s been both deified and vilified,” Lane said. “This play causes us to see a moment in history as a very personal moment.”
Director Raelle Myrick-Hodges also directed last season’s PlayMakers production of “A Raisin in the Sun.”
“If you don’t have a preconceived notion about Dr. Martin Luther King, then there’s something wrong with you,” Myrick-Hodges said. “He’s one of the most important people in American history and he changed the trajectory of this country in terms of how we treat each other.”
The play is not, however, about King’s civil rights leadership or his vision for the country. Rather, Myrick-Hodges said it is about being human and coming to terms with one’s own fears of mortality.
“That’s something that none of us can perceive. We can’t perceive what it would have been like, what happens when you think you’re going to die tomorrow,” she said.
She said the play is funnier than one might expect, despite the fact that the audience will know how King’s life ended.