Katori Hall Talks about The Mountaintop

140968977714MountaintopVerticalTonight, Geva’s production of The Mountaintop by Katori Hall has its second preview performance. As we approach Saturday’s opening, and the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death on April 4th, we wanted to share this interview with playwright Katori Hall. The interview was produced when the play was about to make its Broadway premiere, in 2011. Click here for the full interview.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

Hall’s mother grew up around the corner from the Lorraine Motel and had wanted to see him speak at Mason Temple that night in 1968. But she was only 15 at the time, and her mother — Hall’s grandmother — refused to let her go.

“Big Mama … was like, ‘You know they’re gon’ bomb that church, girl. You know they’re gon’ bomb that church, so you need to sit your butt down and you ain’t going to that church,’ ” Hall recounts.

Joniece Abbot-Pratt and Royce Johnson, who play Martin Luther King, Jr. and Camae in Geva's production

Joniece Abbot-Pratt and Royce Johnson, who play Martin Luther King, Jr. and Camae in Geva’s production

So her mother didn’t go, and the next day King was assassinated.

“[It] was the biggest regret of her life,” Hall says of her mother.

Still, that bit of family history is what gave Hall the idea for her play. She even went so far as to name the maid Camae, after her mother, Carrie Mae.

“I wanted to put both of them in the same room and give my mother that opportunity that she didn’t have in 1968,” Hall says.
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