BGSU presents unconventional view of Martin Luther King in ‘The Mountaintop’

BOWLING GREEN, O.—What happens in the quiet moments when a charismatic leader like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is not on “the mountaintop,” delivering a powerful speech, but alone and feeling drained in his hotel room?

The Bowling Green State University Department of Theatre and Film opens its 2014-15 season with “The Mountaintop,” a re-imagination of the events the night before King’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn. Playwright Katori Hall’s compelling drama, recently produced on Broadway, provides a controversial portrait of the civil rights icon.

The production runs from Sept. 25-28 at the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Performances are at 8 p.m., with additional 2 p.m. matinees Sept. 27 and 28. All tickets are $15.

Directed by Eileen Cherry Chandler, an associate professor of theatre and film, the two-character play stars Lance Green as King and Alexis Mann as Camae, a mysterious spiritual messenger who visits an exhausted King in the Lorraine Motel on April 3, 1968, after King has delivered a memorable speech.

As a storm rages outside, Camae delivers some surprising news, and King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy to his people. “We find him weary, tormented by fear, bound and burdened by the troubles of the world and his personal hopes and dreams,” Chandler said. In contrast to today’s monument to King in Washington, D.C., portraying him as a colossus, she said, this is a look into his “naked and vulnerable soul.”

The Associated Press described Hall’s humanization of King as “audacious, inventive … [a] thrilling, wild, provocative flight of magical realism that defies historical conventions and political correctness.”

The performance contains strong language and is not appropriate for young audiences.

To purchase tickets, visit www.bgsu.edu/arts