Directed by ahdri zhina mandiela
A co-production with Neptune Theatre (Halifax)
GCTC | Great Canadian Theatre Company
300-1227 Wellington St. W.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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“During the next 85 intermissionless minutes, the tension will steadily seep out of “The Mountaintop,” despite a teasing mystery at the center of its plot.” – The New York Times, January 2012
“This isn’t the play for new discoveries or revelations about King the man, but it’s a powerful, poetic take on his legacy — its triumphs and still-unfulfilled promises — from the perspective of a generation that followed him.” – Los Angeles Times, February 2016
About the play
April 3, 1968: After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, “I Have Been to the Mountaintop”, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel amidst a raging storm. When a mysterious stranger arrives at his door, Dr. King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy as a leading figure in the American Civil Rights Movement.
About the playwright: Katori Hall
Katori Hall is a playwright and performer hailing from Memphis, Tennessee. Her award-winning play HOODOO LOVE premiered at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 2007. It was developed under Lynn Nottage as part of the theatre’s 2006 Mentor Project. HOODOO LOVE received three AUDELCO nominations (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, August Wilson Playwright Award). Her other plays include: REMEMBRANCE, HURT VILLAGE, SATURDAY NIGHT/SUNDAY MORNING, THE MOUNTAINTOP, ON THE CHITLIN’ CIRCUIT, and FREEDOM TRAIN (KCACTF ten minute play national finalist). Her work has been developed and presented at the following venues: the American Repertory Theatre, Kennedy Center, Cherry Lane Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Schomburg Center, BRICLab, Women’s Project, World Financial Center, Lark Play Development Center, New Professional Theatre, The O’Neill, the Juilliard School, Stanford University, and Columbia University. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lecompte du Nouy Prize, North Manhattan Arts Alliance Fellowship, New York State Council on the Arts Commission Grant, New Professional Theatre’s Writers’ Festival award, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting and Screenwriting, Royal Court Theatre Residency, and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. She has also been a Kennedy Center Playwriting Fellow. As an actor, her credits include “Law & Order: SVU,” THE PRESIDENT’S PUPPETS (The Public), GROWING UP A SLAVE (American Place Theatre), INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL (American Place Theatre), the world premiere of AMERIKA (Theatre de la Jeune Lune/American Repertory Theatre), SPRING AWAKENING (Moscow Art Theatre School), AIN’T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH (Classical Theatre of Harlem), SCHOOLED (WOW Café Theatre), and BLACK GIRL (Sande Shurin Theatre). As a journalist, her work has been published in “The Boston Globe,” “Essence,” “Newsweek,” and “The Commercial Appeal.” She graduated from Columbia University in 2003 with a major in African-American Studies and Creative Writing. She was awarded top departmental honors from the university’s Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS). In 2005, she graduated from the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Acting. She is now a student in the Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. She is a proud member of the Women’s Project Playwrights’ Lab, the Lark Playwrights’ Workshop, and the Dramatists Guild. www.katorihall.com
About the Director: ahdri zhina mandiela
Jamaica born and Toronto based ahdri zhina mandiela is the Founder and past Artistic Diirector of b current Performing Arts, and is best known as a performance poet and theatre director. In addition to two books of poetry published by Sister Vision Press — Speshal Rikwes (1985), and dark diaspora…in dub (1991) — her who knew grannie: a dub aria was published in 2012 by Playwrights Canada Press, and other writings makes occasional appearances in several anthologies of contemporary Canadian writers since the 80’s. She’s recorded two cassettes: first and last, barefoot & black, and a 17-track CD, step/into my head on her bushooman rag label. Her seminal documentary film: on/black/stage/women has played festivals worldwide and broadcasted on TV. Past work with Black Theatre Workshop include Stuck (2002), the 1st rock.paper.sistahz Festival (2003), Ndito & Amandina (2003-2004), Maija of Chaggaland (2004), and Tightrope Time (2004). Other professional theatre credits include: The Dream Catchers (2017), diaspora Dub (2016), Obeah Opera (2012), Who Knew Grannie: A Dub Aria (2010), Wise.Woman (2009), Scratch (2008), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2007 & 2008), Fallen Angel & the Devil Concubine (2006)
mandiela’s works-in-progress: black.stage.canada, a new media project, and crossing borders: uncovering artistic roots/routes to and from canada. @azmandiela
Letitia Brookes | Camae
Letitia graduated with a BFA in Theatre from Concordia University in 2012. Before graduating she started her company, Nu Spyce Productions, in 2011 with the production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange at MainLine Theatre, where she served as producer and co-actor. She also served as producer, director and co-actor in Nu Spyce’s St-Ambroise Montreal FRINGE Festival production of SINGLE BLACK FEMALE. Theatre credits include Twelfth Night, or What You Will (Repercussion Theatre), the original production of Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of (urban ink productions & Black Theatre Workshop) as well as the 2016 remount in Vancouver and Whitehorse and another upcoming remount in 2018 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa (Sal Capone Productions & NAC), The Sound of Cracking Bones (Imago Theatre & Geordie Theatre Productions), Oroonoko (Persephone Productions), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Geordie Theatre Productions). Recent film and TV credits include The Gift, Zoe, Jack Ryan, 19-2, Being Human, The Will and A Stranger in My Home. Letitia was a member of Black Theatre Workshop’s 2013/2014 Artist Mentorship Program, and was honoured with the 2014 Gloria Mitchell-Aleong Award at BTW’s Vision Gala. She also completed a producing apprenticeship in Toronto through Obsidian Theatre Company’s Mentor Apprentice Program which had her working with Tarragon Theatre in 2014.
Tristan D. Lalla | Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Career highlights include over 70 plays, musicals, and staged readings across Canada (and with Black Theatre Workshop that includes – A Raisin In The Sun, The Lamentable Tragedy Of Sal Capone, the multi META award winning The Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search Of God and most recently Angélique a co-production with Tableau D’Hôte Théâtre), as well as dozens of feature films and television shows (Nine Lives, 19-2, Brick Mansions, Red 2, Quantico, How She Move), and over 20 video games (such as the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Watch Dogs, Deus Ex, and Far Cry). Tristan is a Dawson College Professional Theatre honours graduate. He was a member of the 2015-16 ensemble at Canada’s National Arts Centre, and has recurring roles on the upcoming television shows 21 Thunder for CBC, and The Disappearance for CTV/NBC. @tdlalla
Video Designer: Howard Davis
Howard is a multi-disciplinary artist of British & Cuban heritage. A graduate of Ryerson Theatre School (’14) he has acted at the Shaw Festival, Factory Theatre and Film & TV on 12 Monkeys and upcoming film Downsizing with Matt Damon. His creative credits include designing projections at the Tarragon Theatre for Erin Shield’s The Millennial Malcontent, assistant directing Estelle Shook for the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Louis Riel at the NAC & upcoming projection/video designer for the Shaw Festival’s 2018 Season. His recent short film C’est Moi (www.cestmoifilm.com) has screened across the US, Canada most notably at the Hollywood Black Film Festival, Montreal Black Film Festival and has its upcoming screening at the Black International Film Festival in the UK. The film explores the history of Angélique, the slave who was blamed for allegedly burning down the city of Montreal in 1734. www.howardjdavis.com.
Sound Design & Composition: Rob Denton
Rob Denton is an independent sound designer and composer. Previous shows with BTW include Harlem Duet (META nomination for Sound Design and Composition), Gas Girls (META Nomination for Composition), and She Said, He Said. Rob is nominated for a Composition/Sound Design META for Geordie’s production of The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, adapted and directed by Amanda Kellock.
Lighting Designer: David Perreault Ninacs
Since graduating from NTSC, David has designed over 70 theatre shows and he has done lighting for visual arts shows, corporate galas, dance and musical shows. This will be his second collaboration with Black Theatre Workshop and first with Ms. Mandiela. David is more than happy to be able to create again with Ms. Sharp (with whom he has won a MECCA’s award for the Best Look category). After more than twenty years of this life, he still believes that light in all its forms is worth looking into more closely.
Set & Costume Design: Eo Sharp
Eo Sharp designed the sets and costumes for The Mountaintop. Past productions with Black Theatre Workshop include Angélique and Bluenose (2003), and with Neptune Theatre World Without Shadows. Recent Productions include You Will Remember Me (Centaur Theatre), Intractable Woman (Imago Theatre), Alice in Wonderland, and Pygmalion (Shaw Festival). Eo has worked at theatres large and small across the country including the Stratford Festival, the other theatre, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Clowns Gone Bad, Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Junction, and Geordie Productions. Upcoming shows include The Baklawa Recipe (Centaur Theatre) and Love and Information (Canadian Stage). Eo is a member of both APASQ and the ADC.
Deryl Amenya aka KVZI (pronounced KUZI) is a multi-genre DJ and music producer from Nairobi, Kenya but currently based in Halifax, Canada. At only 21 years of age he has proved to be an interesting addition to the Halifax music scene, with his fusion of afro centric sounds with an urban twist. He has worked with multiple artists in the city and intends to branch more into sound design for theatre.
With experience dating back to 2009, KVZI’s come up into the music industry has been one of constant setbacks and surprises but everything worth doing is never easy right? Now he does major shows in the city and intends to take the Halifax scene by surprise.
Laurie-Anne Jean-Baptiste is a multidisciplinary artist and content creator, with work ranging from writing to photography and video. Laurie-Anne has sung and performed in over 30 plays, musicals, musical revue shows, and concert series, over the last decade. She looks forward to continuing to collaborate with like-minded artistic leaders and dreamers, on inspiring projects.
Juanita Marchand Knight is a recent graduate of Vanier’s Audio Recording Technology program (2017) and holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from University of Miami (2011) and a Master’s of Music in Opera Performance from McGill University (2003). She was most recently heard in Montreal as the soprano soloist Cantiamo’s performance of Mozart’s Missa Brevis in D-minor, with conductor Kristopher Epps. In 2016, she performed the role of Violetta in excerpts of Verdi’s La Traviata with Florida Grand Opera at an opera flash mob during Art Basel, in Miami, Florida. Until 2016, she was the director of school music and liturgy at St. Patrick School in Miami Beach, Florida, where excerpts of her work, A Children’s Mass, are still being performed. Juanita appeared in the 2008 documentary, Requiem for My Mother, about the process of bringing film composer Stephen Edward’s choral work (of the same name) to life. She has also done voice over work, notably as “the voice of Genius” in the Redmoonbiz film, Genius (2006). An active member of SOCAN, Juanita is working on an album of original indie-rock music, under the artist name, NeeNee Knightly. Her single “B4 U” has already been released worldwide. Other current projects include composing an original children’s opera with piano and electronic accompaniment, Ruth’s Annoying Brothers.
Maria Elena Stoodley
Elena Stoodley is a singer who creates music with her voice and songs with her words. She calls her music loop a cappella. She uses an electronic device to build her songs in front of the audience. And it’s pretty much it. She also hates bios, enjoy
Ross Unger is an an Australian/Canadian interdisciplinary artist with a focus on social justice community Arts. He runs dramatic changes (www.dramaticchanges.ca), a Halifax nonprofit that helps community groups create musicals, films, and video games dealing with local issues.
Stage Manager: Birdie Gregor
Birdie works professionally in Quebec and Nova Scotia as an actor, stage-manager, teacher and director. She has also recently become producer and company founder at Playshed, a newly fledged theatre company. Playshed’s first production, COCK by Mike Bartlett, was nominated for ‘Outstanding Independent Production 2016’ at the Montreal English Theatre Awards (METAs). Birdie has had the privilege to work on some incredible pieces over the years, select credits include; 4 time 2015 META winner and the English Montreal Premiere of Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna (Tableau D’Hôte Theatre); 3 time 2015 META winner Travesties (Segal Centre for Performing Arts); Atlantic Fringe’s Best of Festival Winner 2015 Punch Up (Theatre Brouhaha presented by Highland Arts Theatre); and 2014 META winner Good People (Centaur Theatre Company).
Apprentice Stage Manager: Stephen Alarie
A graduate of John Abbott College’s Professional Technical Theatre program, Stephen is very pleased to come on board for the production of The Mountaintop. His previous Apprenticeship Credits include Around the World in 80 Days (Lac Brome/Geordie), Angélique (Black Theatre Workshop/Tableau D’Hôte), Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv (Infinitheatre), Prom Queen: The Musical and The Secret Annex (Segal Centre for Performing Arts). Additionally, he has been Assistant Stage Manager on the Yiddish productions at the Segal Centre for the past two seasons which included The Producers and It Shoulda Been You (DWYT). Other recent production roles he has done include Stage Manager for Hansel & Gretel (Opera da Camera), Lear (JAC Theatre) and The Dumb Waiter (Collective Productions), Head of Props for Hot L Baltimore (JAC Theatre) and Lighting Designer for Cabaret (JAC Theatre). Furthermore, he has done prop building for films such as X-Men: Apocalypse, and directed Collective Productions’ The Bad Guys.
Production Manager: Jody Burkholder
Jody Burkholder is a Yellowknifer living in Montreal. He has worn many hats over the 20 years he’s lived in this city. Lighting Designer, Technical Director, Sound Mixer, Board Member, Student, Friend, Father and now Production Manager. He wants to thank everyone on this production for their creativity and dedication to making quality theatre that is relevant to today’s audiences. It’s been a pleasure. He does it all for Poe.
Technical Director: Steve Schön