MLK production coming to Lindsey theater

by Life Editor Tyler Hargett

While many Americans are familiar with the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., most are unaware of what occurred the night before.

UNA Theatre will present “The Mountaintop,” a fictional account of the night before King’s final day.

Performances will take place at the George S. Lindsey Theatre Feb. 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

This is the play’s second performance at UNA following director Charlton James’ first production June 29 through July 2 in 2017.

Playwright Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning drama takes place in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel and shows King and his visit by a maid after delivering his well-known “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.

Vocal performance alumnus William Wade will portray King, while sophomore Destini Croom will play the role of the young maid, Camae.

Wade said portraying King both rewards and challenges him, with the version of King in the production having two different sides to him.

“I have always wondered what it would have been like to chill with Dr. King at a cookout or just to see him in the street cackling with his boys, and you get to see a form of that in this play,” Wade said. “You also get to see a man carrying the heavy burden of trying to heal a world where people hate you because (of) the color of your skin and where people idolize you for being their hero.”

Croom said she fell in love with her character after reading the script.

“This is a heavy play, and she brings the funny aspect to it and the lightheartedness to it, but at the same time, she has her own backstory,” Croom said.

James said he chose to direct the play because of its relation to current issues.

“The real running theme in the play is that the work is not done, (and) that we have to pass on the baton to the next generation,” James said. “There’s a lot of work that we have to do in order to live a peaceful, happy life with each other.”

Croom said she believes the issues the play relates to are not just race-related, but instead relate to everyone, and the play can get the attention of people who are not working to solve the issues people are facing today.

“I feel like a lot of people, especially nowadays, they sit around and wait (for issues to be resolved),” Croom said. “They speak about the issues, but they don’t want to actually help with the issues. I feel like with this (play), a lot of people will probably get a wake-up call.”     

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for UNA faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Tickets are available online at www.una.edu/theatre/productions, at the George S. Lindsey Box Office (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) and at the door.