By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Eric Ting
Limited Season · Peet’s Theatre
June 23–July 23, 2017
West Coast premiere
Playwright and 2016 MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-Jenkins won the Obie Award for his radical, incendiary, and subversively funny riff on Dion Boucicault’s once-popular 1859 mustache-twirling melodrama. Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation Terrebonne is on the brink of foreclosure. George, the high-minded heir apparent, falls for the lovely Zoe, who’s one-eighth black. But the bigoted belle Dora has eyes for George, and the dastardly overseer M’Closky plots to keep Zoe and Terrebonne for himself. A spectacular collision of the antebellum South and 21st-century cultural politics, An Octoroon is “This decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today,” says the New York Times.
Join us after all performances of An Octoroon (excluding June 30) for a post-show discussion with Berkeley Rep staff, docents, and artists.
We expect this show to include one 15-minute intermission. We’ll update this information, and add running time, once we have confirmation.
Berkeley Rep offers an advisory about any stage effect of potential concern to patrons’ health. We will post this information as soon as it’s available. We don’t offer advisories about subject matter, as sensitivities vary from person to person. If you have any concerns about content, please contact the box office.
Current ticket prices
Premium: $57–97 · Section A: $50–81 · Section B: $29–65
We offer special pricing to patrons under 30, groups of 10+, military personnel, and more. Check out all our discounts.
Prices are subject to change at any time. Generally, your best bet is to buy early. Weeknight tickets tend to cost less than weekends.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose credits include War (Lincoln Center/LCT3), Gloria (Vineyard Theatre; Pulitzer Prize finalist), Appropriate (Signature Theatre; Obie Award), An Octoroon (Soho Rep; Obie Award), and Neighbors (the Public Theater). He is a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and is under commissions from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, MTC/Sloan, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His recent honors include the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award. In addition to holding an MA in Performance Studies from NYU, Branden is also a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. He currently teaches in the Hunter College Playwriting MFA Program, where he is a Master-Artist-in-Residence.
Eric Ting is an Obie Award-winning director and was appointed artistic director of California Shakespeare Theater in November of 2015. Deeply committed throughout his career to the development of new and diverse voices for the theatre, Eric has directed plays (many of them world premieres) by Sam Hunter, Aditi Kapil, Kimber Lee, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Laura Jacqmin, Kenneth Lin, Kristoffer Diaz, Anna Deavere Smith, and others. He has also been recognized for his co-adaptation of Hemingway’s Old Man & the Sea and his controversial interpretation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set during the Vietnam War. His work has been seen at Manhattan Theatre Club, Soho Rep, the Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Williamstown Theatre Festival, A.R.T., Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Hartford Stage, BAM Next Wave, Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Alliance Theatre; as well as internationally, including Singapore, France, Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Bali. He recently relocated to the Bay Area with his wife, director and producer Meiyin Wang, and their baby daughter Frankie.
Stay tuned for future casting and creative team announcements.
Exhilarating…One of Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins’s points is that nothing that deals with race in this racially conflicted country can ever be reduced to an easy showbiz formula, whether satirical or uplifting. His ‘Octoroon’ invites us to laugh loudly and easily at how naïve the old stereotypes now seem, until suddenly nothing seems funny at all.”
New York Times
So energetic, funny and entertainingly demented, you can’t look away.”
New York Post
Docent talks and discussions
Pre-show docent talks
Meet us in the Theatre an hour before the show on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an engrossing presentation about your subscription-season play. Hear about the playwright’s perspective, dive into the historical context, and discover why the script is relevant right now. Each 30-minute talk includes plenty of time for your questions.
Post-show docent-led discussions
Join your fellow audience members after all matinees and share your thoughts on the show.
Exploring Form: The Anatomy of a Play
What is the interplay between theatrical form and content? How does a play’s structure shape our experience of its story? An Octoroon uses the same dramatic conventions of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama, The Octoroon, but it also subverts those conventions to explore race in America in contemporary terms. Looking at source material and examples in the play, participants will unpack how Jacobs-Jenkins uses adaptation, melodrama, and meta-theatre as storytelling tools. The class will be taught by Literary Manager Sarah Rose Leonard.
- Saturday, June 17, 2017 · 5–6:30pm
Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre
Free, but registration required
Stick around after select performances for lively Q&A sessions with our artists on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.
- Friday, July 7, 2017
- Tuesday, July 11, 2017
- Thursday, July 20, 2017
And join us after all the other performances of An Octoroon for an audience talkback and discussion moderated by Berkeley Rep’s staff members.