An Octoroon


ISBN: 9781848426412
Author: By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Publication Date: 18/05/2017
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Extent: 96pp.
Availability: Available


‘What you gonna do once you free? You just gonna walk up in somebody house and be like,”Hey. I’m a slave. Help me?”‘

Judge Peyton is dead, and his plantation Terrebonne is in financial ruins. Peyton’s handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent, and quickly falls in love with Zoe, a beautiful ‘octoroon’. But the dastardly M’Closky has other plans – for both Terrebonne and Zoe.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ exhilarating play, An Octoroon, draws on Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama The Octoroon to explore issues about race and identity in America today.

The play won an OBIE Award when it was first seen in New York in 2014, and had its European premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in 2017. It transferred to the National Theatre, London, in 2018.

An Octoroon won Branden Jacobs-Jenkins the Most Promising Playwright Award at the Evening Standard Awards in 2017. He was also named Most Promising Playwright at the Critics’ Circle Awards in 2018 for his plays Gloria and An Octoroon.

‘Coruscating comedy of unresolved history… this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today’
New York Times

‘A giddy mix of the angry and the absurd… Jacobs-Jenkins is considering important issues about race and representation and making something playful and provocative from them… inspired, invigorating’
The Times

‘Bizarrely brilliant… a work that is both infinitely playful and deeply serious and which dazzlingly questions the nature of theatrical illusion’

‘Half of the fun – and there is a hell of a lot of fun – in watching An Octoroon is witnessing people squirm with discomfort, unsure if to laugh, when to laugh or if they are even allowed to laugh… Jacobs-Jenkins is like one of those magicians who shows you how the trick works and still leaves you agog with wonder’
The Upcoming

‘A dazzlingly playful and sharply provocative look at ideas of race, representation and the nature of theatre itself’
Evening Standard

‘A dazzling deconstruction of racial representation… deeply shocking, but darkly hilarious; satire at its most scornful… with a savage and sophisticated sense of irony, Jacobs-Jenkins sinks his teeth into the relationship between representations and reality’

‘A major work of new American drama… borrowing [from original play The Octoroon] is a stroke of inspiration in itself – melodrama being a self-referential genre, the satiric contexts of then and now contrast very nicely – but it’s the richness of Jacobs-Jenkins’s own imagination that really sets this show soaring… make no mistake about it, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a playwright to watch’
The Arts Desk

Most Promising Playwright, Critics’ Circle Awards

Most Promising Playwright, Evening Standard Awards

OBIE Award for Best New American Play

Additional information


ePub, Mobi, Print