Thursday, October 6, 2011
In many ways, I walked out of the theater feeling "duped". I thought I was going to see a deep, moving, and riveting play about one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 1960's - maybe learn something, walk away moved, motivated, empowered and energized about the message of civil rights. Turns out - despite all the marketing falsely hyping the play up to be such a work - that the play is a silly fantasy about what might have happened in his hotel room the night before MKL was assassinated. What I expected was something powerful, a moving and passionate discussion of issues, ideas, and some insight to the movement. What I got was a fairly accurate portrait of a normal, imperfect, flawed man.
Was I impressed by the tremendous performances - yes - mostly by the lovely Ms. Bassett. Mr. Jackson, a powerhouse in his own right, was clearly directed to tone it down. He played things cool, calm, un-impassioned, and quite frankly, boring.
Don't be fooled like I was. The plot is silly and the made of the stuff a tabloid might publish as entertaining, but ultimately empty calories and meaningless. If you want to see it - go in knowing you won't come out any wiser or empowered. Mr. Jackson and Ms. Bassett are worth seeing. I just wish the material they presented was a powerful as they are.