About the show
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ acclaimed play An Octoroon transfers to the National Theatre.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon transfers to the National Theatre for summer 2018. The transfer follows the play’s acclaimed UK premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2017.
An Octoroon is a based on the 1859 melodrama The Octoroon by Dion Boucicault. The action takes place on a plantation named Terrebonne. The owner, Judge Peyton, has recently died and the plantation is going up for auction. George, the nephew of Judge Peyton, arrives and quickly falls in love with Zoe (described as an ‘octoroon’ because she is one-eighth black). But M’closky, a neighbour who wants the plantation and Zoe for himself, schemes to destroy their potential happiness.
That’s the basic plot, but Jacobs-Jenkins’ new version uses metatheatrical skills to deliver a searing commentary on race, acting and the relationship between theatre and politics. It is as much about the modern world as its is about the 19th century.
Directed by Ned Bennett, the play opened at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre following its 2014 world premiere at the Soho Rep in New York. An instant critical success, the play won the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play.
Ken Nwosu, who won the 2018 Offie Award for Best Male in a Play, leads the cast. Cassie Clare, Emmanuella Cole, Celeste Dodwell, Iola Evans, Vivian Oparah, Alistair Toovey and Kevin Trainor also star in the production.
The Guardian calls An Octoroon, “bizarrely brilliant. Extraordinary,” while Time Out says, “it’s bold, fearless playwriting: laughing in the face of racism as well as allowing the horror of history to spell itself out.”
An Octoroon is performed in the National Theatre’s Dorfman Theatre.
An Octoroon runs from 7 June – 18 July 2018 at the National Theatre.