CHESTER >> — Katori Hall's Olivier Award-winning play, "The Mountaintop," opens at Chester Theatre Company at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
A re-imagining of the last night in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Mountaintop" runs through Aug. 28 at the Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road.
Performances are 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday with matinees at 2 on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Set entirely in Room 306 of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on the night of April 3, 1968, "The Mountaintop" begins with a weary MLK alone in his room, wanting nothing more than a cigarette and a cup of coffee. What he gets instead is a visit from Camae, an irreverent motel maid who, in a heated dialogue, forces Dr. King to confront his humanity, his legacy, and, ultimately, his mortality.
Colette Robert is directing Jordan Manhome, a New York-based actor, director and educator, as Dr. King and actress, writer and choreographer Shelley Fort as Camae.
Manhome has performed extensively Off-Broadway and can be seen in the recurring role of Slim in Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series, "The Get Down" and as Hightower in the HBO mini-series, "The Night Of."
Fort trained in St. Petersburg at the Russia Theater Arts Academy, at the British American Drama Academy, and at the National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Center in Waterford, Conn. She has performed Off-Broadway at La MaMa nd regionally at Trinity Rep, and the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble.
A series of talkbacks, cast conversations, and a panel discussion — "The Mountaintop: The Civil Rights Movement from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Black Lives Matter" — will complement the performances.
The panel discussion will follow the 2 p.m. performance (at approximately 3:30) on Aug. 21.
Producing artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer will moderate the discussion, which will feature Natalie Sowell, associate professor of theater at Hampshire College and a specialist in theater for social change.
Ticket information is available online at chestertheatre.org, or by phone at 1-800-595-4849.