Fairbanks Drama Association examines Martin Luther King, Jr. in “The Mountaintop”

Set in Memphis, at the Lorraine Motel, the play sees Martin Luther King, Jr. interact with a...
Set in Memphis, at the Lorraine Motel, the play sees Martin Luther King, Jr. interact with a maid in his room.(Garrett Wilson/KTVF)
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 4:13 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks Drama Association is looking through the myths in “The Mountaintop,” a two-person show by Katori Hall chronicling the last day in the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

According to director Diane Bunny Fleeks, “We are talking about Dr. King the man, not Dr. King the symbol of the Civil Rights Movement.”

Set in Memphis, at the Lorraine Motel, the play sees King interact with a maid in his room.

To bring the show to life, first-time director Fleeks cast two groups of actors to portray the characters. “I really like working with the actors as they come together as a community to tell this story,” she said.

According to Fleeks, the play is unusual for the Fairbanks Drama Association, having an all-black cast. “That is one of the reasons why we are presenting it on Black History Month this year.”

Each cast performs the show on alternate days. Laquita Deans, one of the actors portraying “Carrie Mae”, explained, “I’ve met new people, but I’m also working with people I’ve worked with before, so it’s very fun.”

Michael Huraeux, who plays Dr. King, described, “A group of performers who just bring marvelous energy to this, just endlessly creative and fun and tough-minded and disciplined. Everything that I love about what community theater and the semi-professional theater can be, these people exemplify.”

For the actors, being half of a two-person collaboration carries much responsibility. “There’s a lot of dialogue,” Deans said, “so there has to be a lot of energy given that there are only two characters in the play, and we definitely have to work off one another.”

Not to mention, the responsibility to portray such a well-known, well-loved figure. “I found myself looking back at the old footage of him,” Huraeux said, adding the role involves “the difficulty of trying to find the nuance of a man who had a very, very sweet core, but was also a very able, tough political boss.”

The show, which opened on February 3, runs for two more weekends. More information can be found here.