By Kellee Terrell
It was a stormy night in Memphis, Tenn., at the Lorraine Hotel on April 3, 1968, when civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was gearing up for what would be his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” All of a sudden a mysterious hotel maid named Camae, who seems harmless, delivers King a pot of coffee. We quickly find out that she is not what she seems. The interaction and tension between these polar opposites would make MLK’s last night on Earth before being assassinated exhilarating yet utterly devastating.
This is the fictional premise behind the eye-opening and much hyped play The Mountaintop, which debuted in London’s West End last year and debuted on Broadway last month. Written by 30-year-old playwright Katori Hall, The Mountaintop won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for best new play last September, a first for any black female playwright.
The Root sat down with Hall to talk about what inspired this work, what she would have said to King on his last night and how magic and the supernatural can be used to tell a story on Broadway.
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