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The Mountaintop At GableStage

MLK and the Hot Stuff Housemaid


Roger Martin, ATCA

C. Anthony Jackson and Karen Stephens in THE MOUNTAINTOP by Katori Hall
directed by Joseph Adler at GabeStage March 15 thru April 13
photo: George Schiavone

Photographer:

C. Anthony Jackson and Karen Stephens in THE MOUNTAINTOP by Katori Hall directed by Joseph Adler at GabeStage March 15 thru April 13 photo: George Schiavone

In one of the best productions of the season Joe Adler has brought to GableStage, two enthralling actors star in a witty version of the precursor to a tragic night. Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop has Martin Luther King (C. Anthony Jackson) baring his foibles to Camae (Karen Stephens) in a ninety-minute one act set in Memphis’ Lorraine Motel the night before his assassination.

Stephens, in a magical performance, is the young housemaid who forces King to face his wins and his losses, his heroics and his weaknesses. Jackson is brilliant in his portrayal of a man facing his end.

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The Mountaintop is a wildly surprising piece, funny, tender, filled with sorrow and wonder. It starts quite slowly, with King entering room 306, weary, trying to relax, checking the phone for bugs, trying to call his wife, mumbling to himself, ordering from room service. Camae arrives with his coffee and immediately the tension builds. She is young, pretty, vivacious, foul mouthed and you can almost smell the lust. But that’s the red herring. The Mountaintop veers off in directions you’ve never thought of.

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Adler’s excellent direction and the fascinating performances by Stephens and Jackson are well matched by the technical aspects of the blistering thunderstorms, the crashing blackouts and the pounding rain on the balcony outside the motel room. Thank Lyle Baskin, Jeff Quinn and Matt Corey for the excellent set, lights and sound.

The Mountaintop plays through April 13 at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables. 305-445-1119

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