The lives of Benjamin E. Mays and M.L.K. at the crossroads of American history presented in “Only Just A Minute”
28 Jul 2014
Posted by Elise Durham
One of the most dynamic leaders of the American civil rights era comes face to face with his own legacy and that of his beloved protégé in a powerful new theater production. “Only Just A Minute” juxtaposes the lives of scholar and Morehouse’s sixth president, Benjamin E. Mays, with that of charismatic young leader Martin Luther King Jr. at the crossroads of American history. It examines the important events that helped shaped America and the promise of things to come.
Inspired by the life and times of Mays, long-time president of Morehouse College and mentor to King, “Only Just A Minute” is the potent story of how Mays comes to terms with the violent loss of his colleague and friend, while holding on to his non-violent philosophies. In the wake of King’s death, Mays, still grieving and questioning long-held beliefs, must confront the stirring unrest among young blacks weary of the long struggle for equality. Young reporter Max Mitchell, more persuaded by the aggressive politics of Malcolm X and Bobby Seale, questions Mays about everything he has stood for, challenging the virtues of non-violence and whether peaceful protest could ever achieve change. As the debate between the legend and the young lion grows, Mays realizes what’s at stake … the hopes and dreams of the next generation. In the end, with encouragement from Mays, Max is left to decide what he will tell the world about the civil rights movement and its legacy.
The play is produced by Morehouse graduate Bob Dockery ’66, who graduated the year before Mays retired as Morehouse president. Inspired by Mays’ many speeches and teachings, he decided to create a play about the relationship between Mays and King, who attended Morehouse under Mays from 1944 to 1948. The play, although in some parts fictional, is based on actual events in Mays’ life gleaned from various research sources, including Mays’ speeches, writings and books.
“Only Just A Minute” opens in Atlanta on August 20, 2014 for a four-day run in the Emma and Joe Adams Concert Hall of Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center located at 900 West End Avenue. Performances are scheduled through August 23, 8 p.m. nightly and a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m.
The production then moves to the Southwest Arts Center at 915 New Hope Road in Atlanta, where it runs from August 27 through September 7, with performances on Wednesday through Sunday at 8 p.m. and a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
Tickets are available for purchase online at http://www.onlyjustaminute.com, or by phone at 626-8MYSEAT (626-869-7328). Student, group and senior rates are available. Opening night “Gala” tickets are $100, which includes a $55 donation to the Morehouse Board Opportunity Fund — a financial aid resource available to juniors and seniors who deserve and need tuition assistance.