‘The Mountaintop’: Troupe creatively imagines night before MLK’s death

From the opening lines of Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop” — as Martin Luther King Jr. shouts out the door of his motel room asking a fellow civil-rights leader to buy him some Pall Mall cigarettes — it’s clear that the play depicts a very human King.

The brash, buoyant production of the one-act by Short North Stage and the King Arts Complex imagines what might have transpired on the night before King was assassinated in 1968.

As King (Earley Dean) works on a speech for the next day, he calls the front desk to wheedle a cup of coffee, then lies down to rest his eyes.

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