‘Meeting’ is filled with spirit

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‘Meeting’ is filled with spirit

Beatriz Hernandez, bhernandez@lmcexperience.com

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Riddled with endless metaphors and foreshadowing, “The Meeting” has brought topics relevant to the injustices going on in today’s society to the Los Medanos College community despite some issues with the writing.
Written by Jeff Stetson, this show tells the tale of a fictional meeting between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in a hotel in Harlem the night before Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom.
Devareay Williams (Martin Luther King Jr.) and Mario Castillo (Malcolm X) impeccably captured the spirits of both men, and even though his time on stage was brief, Lawrence White Jr.’s character of Rashad allowed Malcolm X to be viewed as real person rather than just an influential figure of the Civil Rights Movement.
The production was able to show the differing philosophies between Dr. King and Malcolm X. From the moment Dr. King entered the hotel, I knew a great debate was about to take place. One of the best parts of the show is its relatability to the world we live in today. The men exchanged words back and forth about the “right way” to protest and deal with the oppression people of color face.
With the Black Lives Matter Movement of today, it’s important people realize why people of color are fighting their rights just as Dr. King and Malcolm X had.
In the play, both men were able to realize there is no clear answer on how to deal with society’s issues, and that’s something that still holds true to this day. Each side of the argument is valid, but it’s not as easy as just looking at it as love vs. hate because at the end of the day, both men died pursuing the same goal.
The show did a good job at creating a life-like world, even if this particular situation was fictionalized.
However, while Dr. King and Malcolm X’s discussion throughout the play is relevant to what’s happening today, a lot of the arguments they had only touched the surface of their characters. Perhaps it’s because the show was only an hour long, but I felt like it could have been written in a way that showed Dr. King and Malcolm X as something other than what we usually see.
It didn’t touch on the complexities of their characters as much as I hoped. Most of the time they didn’t the show didn’t go beyond their usual characteristics. Instead, falling into their usual roles of peace vs. violence, love vs. hate and good vs. evil.
Most of the issues within the show dealt with the way things were written, such as the great deal of symbolism and metaphors used throughout the show. Most of the ideas clicked and audiences were easily able to understand what they meant and they resonated, but it included so many that after awhile it almost seemed hackneyed.
Nonetheless, I think the actors did a good job working with the material they were given because by the end, I feel people realize the importance of a show like this. It’s emotional and bittersweet because even though both men gained a friendship, ultimately the audience knew the fate that awaited Malcolm X.
With their fists held high and Andra Day’s “Rise Up” blaring in the background, the cast and crew closed a show that while dealing with issues with it’s writing, told a story I felt was necessary for people to hear.