The story of a preacher from Atlanta
- Friday, May 18th - 7:30 pm
- Saturday, May 19th - 7:30 pm
- Sunday, May 20th - 2:00 pm
- Thursday, May 24th - 7:30 pm
- Friday, May 25th - 7:30 pm
Presented by Novant Health. A modern, Rhythm & Blues opera recounts the final 36 hours in the remarkable life of American icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was an all-too-human hero, who composer Douglas Tappin depicts as a flawed man of God who taught a nation that only love can obliterate hate.
On the morning of April 3rd 1968, a young preacher from Atlanta prepares for a journey to Memphis, Tennessee to join striking sanitation workers. During the night he has experienced a recurring dream – one that is a disconcerting mix of reminiscence and premonition. Always, at the center of the dream, is the image of a balcony that has about it a strange sense of foreboding, and destiny, and a moment he knows he is not yet ready to face, but cannot yet explain, or see beyond.
As he sets out on his journey to Memphis, boarding a flight from Atlanta’s busy airport with his close friend and confidant, he begins to reflect on episodes of his life, searching for meaning to his dreams…
First, he remembers the harsh personal experience of racism and segregation in the community of his childhood, his dear maternal Grandmother, and the promise he made to her at her deathbed that set his life upon its present course – his promise to love.
Later on his journey, his thoughts return to Boston University, the place where he first articulated his unsophisticated ‘love answer’ to the persecution and injustice he perceived in the world. It was also where he met the woman who would become his wife, and would set out with him on a life adventure that took them to Montgomery, Alabama where, together, they would play a vital role in the 1955 bus boycott that changed the law.
Success in Montgomery marks the beginning of a freedom revolution the young preacher is chosen to lead. But leadership has its cost and consequences, for him and also for his wife who, though representing much of the strength of his life, faces her own challenges raising their young family while her husband is often away from home. Street by street, city by city, he marched side by side with others committed to seeing communities all across America experience freedom for themselves.
Though he began to focus on winning political success at a national level in Washington DC, most victories were hard-won on streets, and in jail cells throughout the South. There were significant times when he was vilified and celebrated. There were struggles around him, war within him, and loneliness and despair along the way from Birmingham to Selma. Eventually, the brave stand he inspired the people to take in Selma led to the enactment of voting rights legislation in 1965, that changed the course of modern American history.
He remembers this kaleidoscope of events as he arrives in Memphis, most poignantly on the morning after he makes, perhaps, the most emotionally draining speech of his life. Finally, just thirty-six hours after he set out from home, he sits alone at the edge of his bed in a motel room – late in the afternoon of April 4th. He knows that outside his room door waits the balcony of his recurring dreams. Dream has become reality and the moment of dream images is now the moment at hand.