An Octoroon

An Octoroon

An Octoroon

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Eric Ting
Limited Season · Peet’s Theatre
June 23–July 29, 2017
West Coast premiere

Running time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus one 15-minute intermission

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.

Creative team

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins · Playwright
Eric Ting · Director
Arnulfo Maldonado · Scenic Design
Montana Blanco · Costume Design
Jiyoun Chang · Lighting Design
Jake Rodriguez · Sound Design
Amy Potozkin · Casting
Calleri Casting · Casting
Leslie M. Radin · Stage Manager
Jessica Berman · Dialect Coach
Dave Maier · Fight Director
Sarina Renteria · Lighting Design Assistant
Lisa Quoresimo · Music Director

Cast

Afi Bijou · Minnie
Jasmine Bracey · Dido
Afua Busia · Grace
Lance Gardner · BJJ / George / M’Closky
Sydney Morton · Zoe
Ray Porter · Playwright / Wahnotee / Lafouche
Lisa Quoresimo · Br’er Rabbit
Jennifer Regan · Dora
Amir Talai · Assistant / Pete / Paul

An Octoroon is a provocation, but it’s a provocation that manages to be spectacularly entertaining and never one that slips so far into didacticism that it forgets to have any fun…It is, in short, a major play, a major statement on the modern state of race in America and how it relates to the history of racial oppression and slavery, and an experience that one shouldn’t count on leaving your head until long after seeing the production at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre…Director Eric Ting’s staging is chock-full of vaudevillian glee, always careful to stress the comedy and leave the social reality of the play up for the audience to consider, and his ensemble cast of nine is absolutely remarkable…Its execution is so bold and so singular that it is not unwarranted to say that there is simply nothing like An Octoroon.”

Theatre Arts Daily

There’s no denying how effective An Octoroon is at not letting anyone off the hook. This is our mess, our misery, our melodrama, our tragedy, our farce. That Jacobs-Jenkins and the entire on-stage and off-stage crew of An Octoroon have made it so powerful, so baffling and so, dare I say it, so entertaining, is nothing short of a modern theatrical wonder.”

Theater Dogs

Leaping manThough this production is gorgeously designed, with performances that are crisp, thoughtful and charged with enough potential for anarchy to keep things always a little (or a lot) dangerous, it’s how Jacobs-Jenkins tells his story that most dazzles…It’s a perfect role for [Lance] Gardner, a local treasure whose performances always seem ready to explode into something silly, something dangerous, or both.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ wild and bracing adaptation…never stops detonating bombs in the endless minefield that is race in America…Mustaches twirl and taboos explode in Eric Ting’s audacious staging of this button-pushing melodrama. Slavery is just one of the subjects dissected in this barbed examination of American racial history…The work-shirking Minnie (Afi Bijou) and her industrious friend Dido (Jasmine Bracey) may be supporting characters but their comic flourishes often steal the show. Speaking in an extremely modern vernacular that’s often hilarious, the slaves’ scenes give this play its teeth and its heart…The dangerous and subversive energy of the play’s opening scenes will live long in the imagination.”

Mercury News / Bay Area News Group

Watch now

Official trailer: An Octoroon

A sneak peek at Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ bold, in-your-face award-winning play.

Behind the scenes: Costumes

Designer Montana Blanco reveals some of his costumes for An Octoroon.

Behind the scenes: An Octoroon

Director Eric Ting and select cast members give us the lowdown on bringing Branden Jacobs-Jenkins script to the stage.

Behind the scenes: Jasmine Bracey

Actor Jasmine Bracey gives us an inside look at Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon.

Behind the scenes: Lance Gardner

Actor Lance Gardner gives us an inside look at Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon.

Behind the scenes: Sydney Morton

Actor Sydney Morton gives us an inside look at Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon.

See photos

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Photos courtesy of Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

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