The Mountaintop is the play currently on stage at Rosebud Theatre, it is a play about Martin Lurther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination.
This play written by Katori Hall is a fictional look at what the last night of King's life was like. King receives a visitor, a maid Camae, who as the evening progresses turns out to be more than King expected.
The Mountaintop is brought to life on the stage by the powerful performances of Ray Strachan from Winnipeg who is tasked to portray Martin Luther King Jr. and Patricia Cerra from Edmonton who portrays Camae.
Strachan and Cerra are the only two actors in this production and this is one continuous act, which is unusual but as the audience experiences this piece of art no break is needed.
As the show begins King and Camae slowly get to know one another in the setting of the hotel room where King spent the last night before his death. The writer shows you the stoic side and flawed side of King and allows the audience to see the man behind the fighter.
Cerra is excited about getting to take part in a play that shares this message,"I think it's important to take a look at our past to see where we came from and see where we still have to go the work we still have to do the need for inclusivity and diversity and the need for love."
The Mountaintop is set on April 3, 1968, the events of the play take place after King's final speech before his assassination, 'I've Been To The Mountain Top.' Yet the message and the issues that are brought up from the conversations between these two characters are still very much a part of everyone's lives today.
During his final speech, King spoke about unity, economic actions, boycotts, and nonviolent protests, and spoke about challenging the United States to live up to their ideals. He fought for peaceful demonstrations stating they were the best course of action.
During the play, the audience is taken through the last night of King's life he questions the choices he has made and shares his fear of what may come next. There is an acceptance between both characters that they are connected on this journey and they need each other. Without giving to much away Camae comes to King and tells him things that no one should know about him, and her true character comes to light, and why she is really there to be with King as he goes through the last hours of his life is revealed.
"We are hoping that the audience is touched in a way that they see that love can get us through a lot of things if we just take a moment to breathe, and just remember that we're all human and we all have the capacity to love and if we share that love it can bloom into something amazing and hopefully they get a taste of that," said Strachan.
After having the opportunity to see this production on opening night the audience left the theatre visibly moved, some with tears in their eyes and conversations were started before the audience even left the lobby of the theatre.
The rare decision was made after the opening weekend to include a talkback with the actors after the play, "This is one of those shows where we have to talk to the audience or give them the opportunity to take with us about the play, " said Strachan.
Getting to play such an iconic character as King, Strachan hopes the audience sees the humanity in the man he is portraying, "In the end, there is such a message of love and acceptance and you really get to see the human side of Martin Luther King Jr." This is a rare play that reminds us that what King dealt with over 50 years ago and that this is something that people need to be talking about today.
The Mountaintop runs in Rosebud until October 19 and tickets can be purchased at rosebudtheatre.com, or by calling 1-800-267-7553.