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 26 | $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

Enter the Night

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

Maria Irene Fornes has written more than 40 plays—she’s currently 84 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease—but the Cuban-born playwright is rarely produced outside avant-garde circles. Por ...

7:30 pm Thursdays-Sundays through Feb. 8 | $15-$40
Shaking the Tree 823 SE Grant Ave. Portland Web | Map

The Snowstorm

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015
The Snowstorm begins with an intense concert. Sitting at a piano in the darkened theater, Eric Nordin looks calm and serene, but that belies the torrent of sound he’s producing. As the final, ...
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through Feb. 7 | $15-$25
CoHo Theater 2257 NW Raleigh St. Portland Web | Map

"Mom?" A Comedy of Mourners

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

New ensemble Box of Clowns presents a slapstick- and acrobatics-filled clown show about three siblings wrestling with their memories of their mother.

9:30 pm Fridays; 7 pm Saturdays and 8 pm Sundays through Feb. 1 | $10-$12
Also At Gerding Theater

Threesome

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

In a stab at healing their troubled relationship, an Egyptian-American couple invites a stranger into the sheets for a threesome. The sexy times don't go quite as planned, and things quickly move f ...

7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays (excluding Feb. 8, 22 and 24 and March 3 and 8); 2 pm select Saturdays-Sundays; noon select Thursdays. Through March 8 | $20-$55
Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave. Web | Map

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015
Christopher Durang has likened his latest play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, to Chekhov put through a comic blender. It’s a comparison that puts me in mind of those Will It Blend?< ...
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays; 2 pm select Saturdays and Sundays; noon select Thursdays. Through Feb. 8 | $20-$69
Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave. Web | Map

Word.Voice.

Sunday, Jan 25, 2015

A free showcase of short performances—spoken-word pieces, one-acts, character sketches—presented by at-risk youth who've participated in workshops with PlayWrite.

7 pm Sunday, Jan. 25 | 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