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Performances of “The Mountaintop” continue through Oct. 23 at Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, just a stone’s throw north on Route 100 from Weston Village.

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WESTON — Weston Playhouse Theatre Company moves indoors to conclude its season with “The Mountaintop.” Set in a nondescript motel in Memphis the night before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, the play imagines an encounter between King and a mysterious maid who brings coffee to his room. Last Friday’s opening night performance was powerful, moving theater.

As years pass, fewer of us can personally recall April 4, 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. In town to address the plight of striking sanitation workers, King, hours before, had delivered his famous speech in which he said that he had “been to the mountaintop.” His words offered forebodings of his early death but also messages of hope to his listeners.

In a talk prior to the opening night performance, director Raz Golden, too young to summon personal memories but immersed in the many writings, recordings and videos of the civil rights leader, emphasized how this fictionalized theatrical piece allows us to newly appreciate King as orator and as the man caught in the whirlwind.

As presented in the play, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. entered his motel room on the evening of April 3, 1968 dog-tired. His “Mountaintop” speech was in the rear-view mirror, but as always, there was another speech to prepare and more, always more to do. His right-hand man, Ralph Abernathy, had not yet arrived and attempts to reach his wife by phone had been futile.

Ordering a cup of coffee from room service, King greets an ebullient maid, Camae, who also packs his favorite cigarettes. He entreats her to stay, if just for a while, and they smoke and they talk. She is easy on his eyes and there is flirting aplenty, but there is much more to Camae’s story, as King and the audience eventually learn.

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With Camae, King questions his commitment to his life’s work, relationship to his God, and just how much effect one person can have in this world. The banter and the silliness that playwright Katori Hall injects into “The Mountaintop” reminds us that King was, after all, a husband, father, and flawed man who found strength to go on when most, faced with constant death threats, would have turned tail.

Neil Dawson gave a powerhouse performance as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Using his rich baritone voice to full effect, one could easily imagine how so many were inspired by the civil rights leader. Dawson seamlessly illustrated King’s insecurities as King opened up to Camae.

As Camae, Maechi Aharanwa came on like a starstruck fan, but as her character interacted with King, showed the strength that less famous persons of color must summon as they go forth every day. When Camae’s true nature was revealed to King, Aharanwa found the grace that Camae used to console and guide King to make his way, too.

“The Mountaintop” was first performed over a decade ago and will be viewed by playgoers through the prism of 2021, “Black Lives Matter,” “Me Too,” and everything in between. “The Mountaintop” will affect audiences differently, but hopefully, trigger conversations that illuminate and inspire.

Performances of “The Mountaintop” continue through Oct. 23 at Weston Playhouse at Walker Farm, just a stone’s throw north on Route 100 from Weston Village. For ticket information, call the box office at 802-824-5288 or visit its website at westonplayhouse.org. Patrons are reminded that under new health and safety protocols for indoor performances, proof of vaccination (a photo of the card is fine), as well as masks will be required. The show runs for a little over 90 minutes without intermission.