Misremembering Martin Luther King
The Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in Washington, DC looks like heroic sculpture from the China of Chairman Mao. In*The Mountaintop*, a play by Katori Hall now on Broadway, Dr. King is offered yet another tribute his memory could maybe have done without. In Hall’s well-meaning, but naive play about an imagined conversation between King and a maid at the motel where he stayed on the night before he was killed, King’s last hours on earth become an occasion for tribal laughter and warm black feelings. *The Mountaintop* is so focused on reconciling us—and him—to his death, that Hall seems uninterested in how she might be exploiting King’s legacy.
December 15, 2011