Broadly adapted from Irish playwright Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon, a wildly popular 19th century melodrama, Jacobs-Jenkins’ transgressive comedy/tragedy is a subversive mash-up of the antebellum south and 21st century cultural politics. The playwright dares the audience to examine racism and sexism through the metatheatrical lens of whiteface, redface, and blackface with a multi-ethnic cast that is both adhering to and leaping across the lines of broad racial and sexual stereotypes.
Did we mention that Br’er Rabbit also makes an appearance?
Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and received the “genius grant” when he was named a MacArthur Follow in 2016. An Octoroon won an OBIE Award for best new American play in 2014.
An Octoroon is for mature audiences only, regardless of one’s age.
“Strange as it seems, a work based on a terminally dated play from more than 150 years ago may turn out to be this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today.”– Ben Brantley, New York Times