Dream of a King
- Eddie Harrison
- 20 August 2019
The last hours of Martin Luther King are brought to life
The dream is not just of any king, but Martin Luther King, civil rights leader, family man, politician and a game-changing political force in the 1960's. Although his iconic 'I have a dream' speech has become a touchstone in American history, there's been a lack of a true iconic representation in theatre and films; writer and actor Christopher Tajah has spent five years exploring the man and the myth, and his one-man show, with an assist in the form of some music, does a vivid job in bringing the great man to life.
April the 4th 1968 was, of course, the day of King's assassination; Dream of the King finds King alone and in a tormented state; the phone in his Memphis hotel room keeps ringing, and when there's no answer, King is quick to jump to the conclusion that J. Edgar Hoover's campaign against him is reaching a climax. 'They're digging up lies about me,' King says in a revealing turn of phrase; his enemies were certainly gathering evidence against King to discredit him, but he also had real skeletons in his closet, and Tajah's play makes no bones about King's regret about the pain that personal revelations regarding extra-marital affairs caused his family.
King's legacy, viewed at a time when America seems to be dividing on fault lines once thought to be healed, is one that should be remembered, and two musical interjections from Tajah's sister Paulette help to crystallise the key sentiments of the play. Dream of a King is a personal tribute that brings an important historical character to life. It won't be lost on anyone involved that the audience for this show on the day of review was entirely white: the segregation that King fought against remains ingrained in society to this day.
SpaceTriplex, until Aug 24, 2.10pm, £9 (£7).