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'Dr. King's Dream' to be presented at BSU, NTC

The story of Martin Luther King Jr. will be brought to life this week in Bemidji.

"Dr. King's Dream," a play presented by the Minneapolis-based Mixed Blood Theatre Company, will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Bemidji State University's Beaux Arts Ballroom. The performance will be repeated at noon Thursday in the commons area at Northwest Technical College. The play is free and open to the public.

The opening scene is April 4, 1968, the day of King's assassination, in his room at Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. King answers a young colleague's question that leads him into an account of his work in the civil rights movement.

The scene shifts to the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in 1955 and, through a series of flashbacks, returns to 1968.

"It's a one-man play," said Warren C. Bowles, who has portrayed King in the play since Mixed Blood first opened the show in 1980.

Bowles said Mixed Blood developed the play from a larger piece in conjunction with St. Paul schools in 1980.

By portraying King in the play throughout the years, he said he finds himself, in many ways, paying back a debt he has to all who were active in the civil rights movement.

Bowles also said it's important to keep the history and idea of King's dream alive. He added that he hopes the play will spark an interest in young people to study King's dream and become involved in the civil rights movement.

"When I was doing (the play) 15 or 20 years ago, most of the people had very vivid memories of the time around Dr. King's death and the civil rights movement," he said.

Now, he said, most teachers today weren't even born by the time of King's death.

"Dr. King's Dream" is sponsored by BSU's Hobson Memorial Union, Northwest Technical College and Diversity Jam, a group of students on the BSU campus that holds events focusing on diversity.

"It's being presented in recognition of Dr. King's birthday," Hobson Memorial Union Director T. Todd Masman said.

He said organizers scheduled the play to take place after the Jan. 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday so BSU and NTC students would have returned to classes and have the opportunity to attend.