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.


I began thinking by drawing.


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.



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


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



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


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


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


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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