- Aug 28, 2015
A black director’s decision to cast a white actor as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has sparked widespread outrage.
Director Michael Oatman’s version of “The Mountaintop”, where King imagines himself on the eve of his assassination, includes three performances where King is portrayed by a black actor and three where King is portrayed by a white actor.
“I truly wanted to explore the issue of racial ownership and authenticity. I didn’t want this to be a stunt, but a true exploration of King’s wish that we all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” Oatman said in a statement, the Huffington Post reports. “I wanted the contrast… I wanted to see how the words rang differently or indeed the same, coming from two different actors, with two different racial backgrounds.”
The writer of the original play, Katori Hall, has even joined the chorus of those criticizing the production at Kent State University.