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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A glimpse of the Mountaintop

L.A.+Theatre+Works+and+Susan+Albert+Loewenberg%2C+Producing+Director%2C+present+The+Mountaintop+by+Katori+Hall.+Starring+Gilbert+Glenn+Brown+as+Dr.+Martin+Luther+King%2C+Jr.%2C+and+Karen+Malina+White+as+Camae.+Photography+%26%23169%3B+Kirk+Richard+Smith.+All+rights+reserved.
Photo by Provided by Kirk Richard Smith

L.A. Theatre Works and Susan Albert Loewenberg, Producing Director, present The Mountaintop by Katori Hall. Starring Gilbert Glenn Brown as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Karen Malina White as Camae. Photography © Kirk Richard Smith. All rights reserved.

In remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on April 4th, 1968 , MSC OPAS brings the inspiration of the civil rights leader to Rudder Theatre.
The Mountain Top, written by Katori Hall, depicts King just hours before his murder in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The plot explores the human flaws of the civil rights leader and connection with Camae, King’s maid, played by two-time NAACP winner Karen White. Tickets for Wednesday evening’s show will be a free of charge to students.
Throughout the play, Camae, who in reality is an angel reveals to King, played by Gilbert Brown, that it is now time for King to come to the promised land. The audience witnesses King’s joy and dismay of the triumphs and tragedies that arise in his glimpse of America’s future.
While acknowledging his profound strengths as a civil rights pioneer, Hall said she felt it was imperative to show King’s humanism and vulnerability throughout the play.
“It was really important for me to show the human side of King…King changed the world but he was not a deity, he was a man, a human being like me and you,” Hall said. “So it was important to show him as such: vulnerable.”
While Kings vulnerability is depicted at large throughout the production, Gilbert Brown, stage actor who plays King, recounts being unsure of how audiences would react to the piece.
“Hall likes to stir things up,” Brown said. “The idea of portraying King in this particular way, which was at the time 2011, was earth shattering. When I read it for the first time I was intimidated by it, one—because it was King and two— because I wondered how it would be received… there is a lot of bravery in this piece.”
Kaila Brooks, business grad student, said the way King was portrayed as Michael, the name he was referred to as a child, along with this sense of normalcy, really stood out to her throughout the play. Brooks said the production made her recognize how recent this piece of history was and realize the progress the American society has made.
“The way Martin Luther King was portrayed as Michael, as his non superhero self, just a normal man, frustrated with the circumstances back then, was the part that stood out to me the most, Brooks said. “Also, for it to be the night of his anniversary, just 50 years ago, we realize it’s not that long ago. Yes, we are dealing with the same problems today but we are definitely not in the same place.”
Karen White, actress who plays Camae, said that the honesty of the piece provides a reminder to the audience of Kings message— his non- violence approach is at the heart of his movement and he never strayed from it.
“The writer Katori Hall has written this piece so brilliantly,” White said. “At the heart of it all, there’s honesty and truth that resonates and its so profound and humbling to be doing it now at the anniversary of King’s assassination 50 years ago. We’re still talking about the same issues so I think it’s really humbling that we get to travel and remind each other about his message about non-violence which is at the heart of his message.”

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