Home / Events / Theater / The Mountaintop

The Mountaintop

REBECCA JACOBSON
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, 2 pm alternating Saturdays and Sundays, and noon Thursdays through Oct. 27., Thursday September 19 | $40-$55.
Gerding Theater
128 NW 11th Ave.
 
There are undoubtedly new things to be said about Martin Luther King Jr. That’s not the trouble with Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. No, the problem is that Hall condescends to her subject and audience in a manner worse than didacticism. Her play hinges on a gimmick, and one that is tired, tonally jarring and toe-curlingly cutesy. Set at Memphis’ Lorraine Motel on April 3, 1968—the night before King’s assassination—Hall’s Olivier Award-winning play introduces us to a man who’s weary, hoarse-throated and plagued by a bad case of stinky feet. King (Rodney Hicks, who strikes an impressive balance of the ordinary and the extraordinary) spitballs phrases for a new speech as he paces before the mirror, loosening his tie. Into this bare-bones motel room flies Camae (Natalie Paul), an ebullient, potty-mouthed maid. And for roughly the first half of this 90-minute play, the two banter and flirt and engage in various forms of high-flung oratory—in Camae’s case, it involves her deeming God “a funny-ass motherfucker.” But then Hall produces a cheap twist, which I won’t reveal here. Trust me, though: You’ve seen this one before. Let it suffice to say that Camae isn’t what she seems, and this revelation torques The Mountaintop from a moderately compelling drama to a Lifetime Christmas special. There are phone calls to God, redundant arguments about inevitable things and a boob joke that reminded me of Mean Girls. It’s a shame, really—Hicks and Paul have an engaging chemistry, one that’s alternately flirtatious and politically charged, which continues all the way to a frenzied pillow fight (it’s a lovely image, with tiny white feathers flying about the stage like snow). And director Rose Riordan keeps things tight and energetic, even as the proceedings spiral into patronizing looniness. Sometimes, a surrealistic flight of fancy allows a play to spread its wings. Other times, we just get flimsy clichés and a mess of feathers on the floor.

Where: Gerding Theater
Phone: 445-3700
Address: 128 NW 11th Ave.
Website: pcs.org

 
 
Other events in Theater

Boredom is the Ultimate Weapon

Friday, Jul 03, 2015

Boredom is the Ultimate Weapon will be a series of improvised structures constructed from material at hand inside and outside of HQHQ Project Space by Los Angeles artist Don Edler. Each of t ...

The opening will be a summer party on July 3, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. A grill will be available; bring your own protein. Local artist-made cups will be sold for $10 each. Each cup supports HQ Objective and allows for free drinks during the event.
HQHQ Project Space 232 SE Oak St. Portland Web | Map

Habitat: A Video Mandala

Friday, Jul 03, 2015

Habitat is a giant video mandala conjured for your contemplation and iteration, directed by Kello Goeller.

Opening reception Thursday July 2 from 6 pm-9 pm.
Duplex 219 NW Couch St. Portland Web | Map

Tight Rope: New Paintings by Arvie Smith

Friday, Jul 03, 2015

Tight Rope is a collection of vivid, powerful works linking our troubled past to our equally troubled present. ...

Mark Woolley Gallery @ Pioneer 700 SW 5th Ave., 3rd floor, Pioneer Place Mall Portland Web | Map
Also At Gerding Theater

The Kilroys List: A Festival of Contemporary Plays

Sunday, Jul 12, 2015

Gender-equality focused Portland theater group the Hearth Collective partners with the Kilroys, a gang of women playwrights and producers from L.A., to showc ...

Noon: I Enter the Valley; 4 pm Bliss (or Emily Post is Dead!); 8 pm: The Oregon Trail. Sunday, July 12 | Free.
Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave. Web | Map
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
comments powered by Disqus
 

Web Design for magazines

Close
Close
Close