I started writing Love Assassin over ten years ago. I had been teaching MLK’s writings to my grade 13s and had become interested in writing a play on something that sprang from the historical events. I read in Gerald Posner’s Killing the Dream that assassin James Earl Ray had been hiding out in Toronto two days after shooting MLK. I just knew I wanted to set the piece in Ray’s rooming house on Ossington Ave.
To put MLK on stage was a scary thought, so I immediately shied away from that, but Ray was different. MLK became the myth, the icon, when he died. He became immortal by dying in such dreadful circumstances. But infamous losers are more easily placed on the stage. The duality of good and evil, love and hate, black and white, however, were forces that I needed in such a play. So, what do I want to say with this play? Can it be as simple and as complex as: you can only kill hate with love? I’m hoping so.
Rather than using historical events (though Ray has a long monologue about the shooting) I moved into ‘inner head land’ where Ray’s thoughts and fantasies could be physicalized on stage. I created Martha Luther, the female earthly vessel of MLK’s spirit as it journeys to the next world, a journey that must deal with Ray as it processes through. And then there is Raoul, Ray’s alter ego, and supposedly a real person who led Ray into the whole affair. But Raoul and Martha in my play are of Ray’s mind, and represent the struggle between the wrong and the right.
I’ve picked away at the play over the years but am never satisfied. It has been much longer than it is now, and included scenes of his arrest at Heathrow Airport and his incarceration in Memphis. But now it’s back down to the rooming house in Toronto – again.
I’m putting it up on the site for you to have a look at. I would love to hear suggestions for the next draft - email@example.com.
Love Assassin - the .pdf version. There are about 23 pages, so the document may take a minute or so to open
Love Assassin - the zip version for downloading to your computer.