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., Wednesday October 23 | $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

Anthropometry: Science and Design in the Contemporary Art Experience

Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Artist and writer Jeff Jahn scores another curatorial hit with the thoughtful and spatially invigorating three-person show Anthropometry. By far the most eye-catching piece in the endearin ...
Kathrin Cawein Gallery at Pacific University 2043 College Way Forest Grove Map

Forbidden Fruit: Chris Antemann at Meissen

Monday, Oct 20, 2014
In a long-overdue follow-up to her delightful installation at the 2011 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, Chris Antemann stages a rococo bacchanal in the Portland Art Museum. Her porcelain figures fil ...
Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Ave. Portland Map

NT Live: A Streetcar Named Desire

Monday, Oct 20, 2014

NT Live, which brings performances from London's West End to screens around the world via hi-def broadcast, presents Tennessee Williams' classic play, starring Gillian Anderson (Scully!) as Blanche ...

2 and 7 pm Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 20-21 and 2 pm Sunday, Oct. 26 | $15-$20
World Trade Center Theater 121 SW Salmon St. Web | Map
Also At Gerding Theater

Dreamgirls

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
Mirroring the meteoric rise and personal turmoil of the Supremes, the Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls is steeped in Motown rhythms, racial struggles and lots of sequins. Young Chicago tri ...
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays; 7:30 pm most Sundays; 2 pm select Saturdays and Sundays; noon select Thursdays. Closes Nov. 2. | $34-$74
Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave. Web | Map

The Typographer's Dream

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2014
You are where you work, we’re told. Lawyers are argumentative assholes, and nurses are either cold or caring. It’s a trope common in fiction since Dickens. In The Typographer’s Dream, wri ...
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Sundays; 2 pm Saturdays-Sundays; and noon Thursdays through Nov. 16 | $25-$55
Gerding Theater 128 NW 11th Ave. Web | Map

Dreamgirls

Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Mirroring the meteoric rise and personal turmoil of the Supremes, the Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls is steeped in Motown rhythms, racial struggles and lots of sequins. Young Chicago tri ...
7:30 pm Tuesdays-Saturdays; 7:30 pm most Sundays; 2 pm select Saturdays and Sundays; noon select Thursdays. Closes Nov. 2. | $34-$74
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