The Mountaintop

Posted by on Nov 4, 2015 in Illustration, Portland Stage Company | 0 comments

I’m eager to see the current production of The Mountaintop that just opened at Portland Stage. I worked on the illustration last winter, and as usual, learned so much in the research process. Katori Hall’s award-winning play is set at the Lorraine Motel, the night before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. I found this photo on-line. Seeing it brings a brutal reality all back, one that I didn’t understand when I was 9. I still don’t.

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I began thinking by drawing.

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The play involves an encounter between King and a maid, Camae, who brings him coffee and more than he bargained for.

I tried several approaches, some involving a transparent female figure against the iconic profile of King.

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In this, I’m attempting the look of isolation before his fate.

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In one scene, flowers magically cascade like tears from Camae’s eyes. I so wanted to draw that.

 

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This is straight-forward literal: opening the motel door.

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The first sketch got the nod, so I made a color version with possible placement of the play’s title and credit.

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In the final illustration, I added stars digitally. There’s a powerful spirituality in the conclusion of the play.

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Portland Stage and Dispatch Magazine are hosting a community conversation, Race and Performance in Maine, this Monday, November 9 at 7 PM at Salvage BBQ. Blues musician Samuel James, Portland City Councilor Jill Duson, and Rene Johnson, Director of Theater Ensemble of Color, will lead a discussion of the challenges and dimensions of “being a performer of any kind in a region as white as Maine.”

Let’s all go and learn, discuss, and understand each other better.

Thank you, Portland Stage.

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