CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY – December 4, 2020 – South Camden Theatre Company and the Waterfront South Theatre in Camden, NJ, along with our Artistic Director, Raymond Croce, are proud to announce our very first virtual play, “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall. This play won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play.
This fully-staged reading is Directed By Ms. Connie Norwood of Philadelphia, PA. She is a long-standing actor, and director and has worked on many productions for South Camden. She chose two recent SCTC actors from our production of “Crumbs From The Table of Joy” to act in this powerful theatrical piece.
Playwright Katori Hall tells a gripping re-imagination of events the night before the assassination of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Eric Carter plays the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King along with Wendi Smith, who plays Camae, the housekeeper at his hotel.
“The Mountaintop” is set on April 3, 1968, the day before the assassination of the well-known activist. Hall tells her story in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee — where Dr. King stayed on his final night.
As actor Eric Carter, playing King makes his way onto the stage, you’ll be transported to that very rainy night in 1968. You’ll hear Dr. King as he plays with different words and phrases in preparation for a speech. Such phrases as, “Why America is going to hell” is one that you’ll hear.
The play comes across as a source of comfort for many Americans who to this day just can’t seem to make sense of the tragedy that occurred. Here Dr. King is retreating to the comfort of his motel room after delivering the mountainous speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”. He’s not feeling great and has been let down by the crowd size at his speech…he was apparently expecting many more.
We are soon introduced to Hall’s second character, Camae, a motel housekeeper, played by Smith. She enters the show bringing Dr. King some coffee and is clearly a spirited personality.
It doesn’t take long before you can see there’s a certain chemistry between Camae and Dr. King. Some could speculate that this is common with Dr. King and his reputation for being somewhat of a womanizer. Her flirtatious spirit brings a sharp edge to her personality.
A young beautiful woman, Camae is far from the innocent one she initially appears to be. Her candor seems to make it easy for Dr. King to relax and it doesn’t take long at all before he begins putting some of his smooth moves on her. She handles it perfectly without missing a beat and even seems to leave his flirtations somewhat open to being successful.
The Mountaintop seems to try to show something different – that although we know tomorrow will be his last day, we aren’t dwelling on that. Instead, we see an intriguing moment that he may have actually had on this last night.
Director Norwood is thrilled to be working with such a fine group of actors and crew during these “pandemic times”. She put a great deal of work into this fully-staged reading. The actors have been tasked with movement, costumes and props…all on a nearly full set…not just sitting behind a podium. All the rehearsals and movement keep CDC guidelines front and center. The only time the actors removed their masks was for the actual filming.
Raymond Croce, artistic director, would like to express, “kudos to Connie, Eric and Wendi, along with Silver Octopus Productions”. Silver Octopus was our videography crew for this first-ever virtual effort.
This is the third show of our 2020 Season of Celebration. We started this year hoping to celebrate our 15th season and the 10th anniversary of our home, The Waterfront South Theatre. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic threw us a bit of a curve ball. We’re happy to have presented one live show, one video compilation show, SCTC’s Virtual Variety Slam – Black Lives Matter and now this fully-stage reading. Our plans are to continue developing virtual work with a video production of the play, “Pipeline” by Dominique Morisseau.
South Camden Theatre Company is proud to call Camden home. When the company was founded in 2005, performances were held in the basement theatre of the Sacred Heart Church. We’re also proud own The Waterfront South Theatre, the first, free-standing theatre erected in Camden in more than 100 years.
Along with the theatre company, the Waterfront South neighborhood is also a growing arts community. Our arts neighbors now include Camden FireWorks, artist studio spaces, and gallery, The Nick Virgilio Writer’s House, Bee Still Studios, The Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum, Camden Boat Works and the Center For Environmental Transformation, along with The Heart of Camden, The Camden Sophisticated Sisters and The Sacred Heart Church.
About PNC Arts Alive
South Camden Theatre Company was selected by PNC Bank to participate in PNC Arts Alive for two seasons. This is a very prestigious grant award. Just over 30 total organizations in the Philadelphia and Southern, New Jersey region, were selected for bold thinking around increasing arts access and engagement.
“Through PNC Arts Alive, we continue to help invigorate local arts organizations while bringing new and exciting programs to our community,” said Joe Meterchick, PNC regional president for Philadelphia, Delaware and Southern New Jersey. “The creativity and collaboration demonstrated by the local arts community is evident in the programs that will be introduced while enabling new visitors and residents alike to experience a diverse range of exhibits and performances.”
Read more here: www.PNCARTSALIVE.com
About South Camden Theatre Company and The Waterfront South Theatre:
This show can be viewed online on any device connected to the internet. To view the show, purchase tickets for December 4, 5 & 6 or December 11, 12, 13. Tickets are $15.00 for family viewing. And, if you live in Camden, NJ you can purchase tickets for $5 for family viewing. Tickets are available beginning December 4 at 12:15am. You’ll have 48 hours to stream the show. Visit: https://www.showtix4u.com/events/themountaintop to purchase tickets.
Our shows are sponsored in part by Holman Enterprise group, Camden City Cooper Foundation and Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission.
To watch a trailer or learn more about the show, visit the website at www.southcamdentheatre.org
Theatre Company Office: (856) 409-0365
Robert Bingaman, Communications, Mobile: (609) 471-4168