AN OCTOROON Begins At Stage West Today
A debt-ridden plantation, a new owner, a lovely young woman with a secret, and an assortment of slaves-these antiquated elements have been mashed up against a contemporary framework to create an astonishing, outrageously comic, and eloquent perspective on race in America, in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon. This Obie award winning play will begin a 5-week run at Stage West on Thursday, August 30.
A black actor walks on stage and tells the audience that he is going to rework and reimagine a retelling of the 1859 Dion Boucicault play, The Octoroon. This play-within-the-play tells the story of the young new heir to a Southern plantation and his love of the ward of the estate who is 1/8 black. As the lines between the antebellum and the contemporary begin to blur, this fascinating and hilarious play becomes a moving challenge to the racial climate of America both then and now. It's a completely unique piece of theatre and not to be missed!
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' plays include Neighbors (Public Theater), Appropriate (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Victory Gardens Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Signature Theatre), An Octoroon (Soho Rep), Everybody, and War. He is a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at the Juilliard School. In 2016 he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His work has been seen at the Vineyard Theatre, the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles, Company One in Boston, and the HighTide Festival in the United Kingdom. He has taught at New York University and Queens University of Charlotte, and his honors include the Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award. He holds an MA in Performance Studies.
An Octoroon will be directed by Akin Babatunde, who last directed Stage West's Bootycandy. The cast features many actors making their Stage West debuts. Appearing as BJJ/M'Closky/George will be Ryan Woods, while Morgana Wilborn will play the young octoroon Zoe. Christopher Llewyn Ramirez will play Assistant/Pete/Paul, with Nikki Cloer as the wealthy Dora, and Kristen White, Camille Monae, and Bretteney Beverly as slaves Minnie, Grace, and Dido respectively. Justin Duncan, who appeared in Stage West's Bootycandy, will play Playwright/Wahnotee/LaFouche, with Christopher Lew, last at Stage West in The Royal Society of Antarctica, as Br'er Rabbit/Captain Ratts.
Set design is by Bob Lavallee, with lighting design by Bryan Stevenson, costume design by Aaron Patrick DeClerk, sound design by John Flores, fight choreography by Jeffrey Colangelo, and props/set decor by Lynn Lovett.
An Octoroon will preview Thursday, August 30 at 7:30 and Friday, August 31 at 8:00, and will run through Sunday, September 30. Performance times will be Thursday evenings at 7:30, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, with Sunday matinees at 3:00. Ticket prices range from $31 to $35, with discounts for the preview performance, and for students, seniors, and military. Food service is available 90 minutes prior to performances (reservations are advised). Reservations and information are available through the Box Office (817-784-9378), or on the website, www.stagewest.org.
The Octoroon Happy Hour will take place the Friday before opening, August 24 from 5-7. Artist Christopher Blay will be on hand to present his relational aesthetics art experience Drinking for Diversity. Come for the drink specials, stay to hear from members of the cast of An Octoroon.