Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Man In Room 306

photo: Pier Baccaro

In this pedestrian solo one-act, Craig Allen Edwards plays Martin Luther King Jr. om the eve of the civil rights leader's assassination, holed up in his Memphis motel room and plagued by doubts. The portrait of King as written is not especially convincing - there's no trace of the talented strategist we know from movies like Boycott and the play The Conscientious Objector - and the playwrighting is labored: there's a limit to how often we want to sit still for passages that begin with a variation of "I remember when such and such happened". If King's remembrances have been shaped toward a purpose, it's one that attempts to remove the hero's halo and humanize him. But apart from a few stretches about King's relationship with his father, the material isn't intimate enough for the task. Edwards delivers most of the play's lines as if he's playing to a balcony that doesn't exist.

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