"Dr. King's Dream" at UND
University of North Dakota
The University Program Council welcomed the Mixed Blood Theater Company to UND for a performance of “Dr. King’s Dream,” on Thursday, January 27.
The content is drawn from Martin Luther King Jr.’s letters, sermons, books, and speeches and illustrates why he is honored with his own holiday.
With only a single performer on stage the 50-minute monologue spans King’s life from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 to his assassination in 1968.
From the moment Warren C. Bowles, the actor portraying King, takes the stage, the audience sees him in his room at the Lorraine Motel, talking to his mother and other unseen friends and advisors. King is asked about the time he was most scared, which serves as context for the rest of the play, told in sequential vignettes.
Through Bowles’ powerful performance, we hear King call listeners to action, boycotting buses in Montgomery; we see the panic when he learns his home has been bombed in retaliation; we hear him reflect on his philosophy of non-violence.
What the audience enjoys is not just the historical recitation of facts and figures, but the creation of a modern hero in American culture. No bare accounting of the facts could so nearly encompass the dignity, confidence and extraordinary courage he possessed.
Good material begets good theatre and the audience is quickly caught in the grip of Bowles’ strong stage presence. And, despite the fact that almost everyone knows at least superficially of King’s assassination, many in attendance visibly jumped when the piercing crack of a gunshot suddenly broke into a conversation, ending the play.
According to Kevin Hohnstein, Vice Chair of the University Program Council, "The program did a great job highlighting the main points of Dr. King's life. Warren Bowles did a great job acting as Dr. King, and did a wonderful job doing the one man show. The show was a great way to pay tribute to Dr. King and his efforts to have equal rights for everyone."
Warren C. Bowles has been an actor and director with Mixed Blood Theatre Co. since 1977, and has toured since 1981.
Mixed Blood promotes pluralism throughout Minnesota and the Upper Midwest annually with several touring productions, performing in schools, colleges, community centers, places of worship, detention centers, corporate boardrooms, and on reservations.
Craig A. Garaas-Johnson. ""Dr. King's Dream" at UND" (2011). UND News Archive. 7.