Performance Network Theatre presents a series of community discussions regarding “The Mountaintop,” by Katori Hall – the current Performance Network production that is an imagined portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on earth.
The discussions will be held on Monday, May 13 at 6 p.m.; Sunday, May 19 at 4:30 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2 at 4:30 p.m. The programs are open to the public to facilitate dialogue about the play’s innovative take on Dr. King’s final hours.
“The Mountaintop” runs on select dates through June 2.
The Baton Passes On: Community Discussion; 6 p.m. on Monday, May 13 at Performance Network Theatre – FREE
Performance Network Theatre invites the acclaimed Civil Rights historian Matthew Countryman and Associate Professor of Theatre and writer-in-residence at the University of Michigan OyamO (a.k.a. Charles F. Gordon) to lead a comprehensive discussion regarding the themes of “The Mountaintop”. Due to the complexity of “The Mountaintop”, Performance Network Theatre offers perspectives from both historical and theatrical sources. This event is perfect for the historic and/or theatre enthusiast who is interested in discussing and analyzing Katori Hall’s unique depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on earth and the tools she used to create the story. It is not a requirement to see the production of “The Mountaintop” before attending the discussion as it may serve as a useful guide during an audience member’s viewing of the show. This event is first come, first serve: General admission.
About the Panel:
Matthew Countryman is faculty director of the University of Michigan’s Arts of Citizenship program and is an associate professor of History and American Culture, where he teaches modern U.S. and African-American history and comparative race relations. Countryman is the author of “Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia”, which won the 2006 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the subject of civil rights history. His research interests include African American social and political movements, comparative race and ethnicity, and United States politics.
OyamO’s plays have been performed in theatres across the country, including the Yale Repertory Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Working Theatre, the Public Theatre, Negro Ensemble Company, the Arena Stage Theatre, the Goodman Theatre of Chicago, the Kennedy Center in D.C., and many more. He is also a past member of the NEA Professional Nonprofit Theatre Panel and was a 1998 panelist for the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund of San Francisco. He has received fellowships from the Berrilla Kerr, Guggenheim, Rockefeller and McKnight Foundations, as well as grants from the Ohio and New York State Arts Councils and three NEA fellowships. OyamO received his MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama and is a member of PEN, Dramatistis Guild, New Dramatists (alumni), the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Writers Guild East, the O’Neill Playwrights Center, and the Black Theatre Network. With HBO, he has written an episode for the “Famous Black American Anthology” and a TV adaptation of “I Am a Man”. He was a site monitor for the NEA and is a former vice president of the board of directors of The Theatre Communications Group. He wrote a musical based on the history of Detroit, the research funds for which were provided by UM’s OVPR through its Arts For Citizenship program. The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit commissioned him to write two plays, one on the Civil Rights Movement in Detroit, “City in a Strait”, produced May 2007, the other on the Fisk Jubilee Singers, “Sing Jubilee”, for a May 2008 production at the Detroit Institute for the Arts. Join Performance Network Theatre to explore “The Mountaintop” with these fascinating individuals.
Backstage Cafe: Where Artists Share Their Creative Caffeine; 4:30pm on Sunday, May 19 at Performance Network Theatre – $10/$5 for students and seniors
Join us in the Performance Network Theatre’s lobby for an in-depth conversation exploring the nuances of making theatre from the artist’s perspective while sipping complimentary coffee from Mighty Good Coffee and Roastery. Associate Artistic Director Carla Milarch interviews Brian Marable on portraying the historical icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Brian Marable does not imitate Martin Luther King, and thereby creates a solid, real character. In a final speech we hear the fiery skills that marked the career of, arguably, the greatest orator of the 20th century, but Marable has made it all his own,” John Quinn of Encore Michigan. Backstage Cafe is the perfect event for cultural gurus and aspiring theatre professionals. Only 20 seats! Reservations suggested.
About the Artist
A native Detroiter, born and raised, Brian Marable is a graduate of Cass Technical High School’s Performing Arts Department, and attended Wayne State University as a theater major. Marable has appeared in productions such as “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Old Settler” with Plowshares Theatre Company, “Take Me Out” and “Piano Lesson” at Performance Network Theatre, “Superior Donuts” at the Purple Rose Theatre, and the award-winning Best Play of the Year (2003) “Jesus Hopped the A Train” with African Renaissance Theatre Company. Join Milarch and Marable to discover the genius behind his original portrayal of one of the greatest figures in American history.
The Baton Passes On: Community Discussion; 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 (after the final performance of “The Mountaintop”) at Performance Network Theatre – FREE
Join diversity-centric children’s theatre personality, LaRon Williams, for the final community discussion for “The Mountaintop” at Performance Network Theatre. Williams will offer his extensive experience as a nationally acclaimed African American theatre professional to examine the play’s unusual plot devices and complex characters and how they affect the depiction of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on earth. This event is first come, first serve: General admission.
About the Speaker:
LaRon Williams is a nationally acclaimed, award winning storyteller who has toured the country with his highly participatory music-spiced program of traditional and original tales crafted to improve literacy, foster cooperation, build self-esteem, and deepen our understanding of the ideal of American democratic inclusion.
Reservations are not necessary for the Baton Passes On: Community Discussions on May 13 and June 2. Backstage Cafe reservations can be made at the Performance Network Box Office at 734-663-0681, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Performance Network Theatre (120 East Huron St., Ann Arbor, 48104) Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor’s resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children’s Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.