Posted May 23, 2017 by Editorial Staff in Art+Culture

Berkeley Rep Presents “An Octoroon”


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May 4, 2017Berkeley Repertory Theatre today announced the West Coast premiere of An Octoroon written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Eric Ting will close out its season. The Obie Award-winning play begins previews on Friday, June 23, and the show runs through Sunday, July 23.

Individual tickets begin at $29 and can be purchased online at or by phone, 510 647-2949. Press night will be Friday, June 30.

“I’m so happy to have Eric Ting on board,” says Berkeley Rep’s Michael Leibert Artistic Director Tony Taccone. “I think he is a great choice to direct this unconventional story. He is an accomplished artist and I know he will handle this challenging material with great success.”

“The essential gift of a writer like Branden is the unflinching courage with which he confronts the legacy of our nation’s dark origins,” says director Eric Ting. “That he does so with audacity and wit and vivid theatricality is what makes him a genius. I’m thrilled that Berkeley Rep is bringing An Octoroon to the Bay Area and honored to be directing it.”

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 is one-eighth black. But the bigoted plantation queen 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.

Audiences are invited to attend a free class on Saturday, June 17 at 5pm at Berkeley Rep’s School of Theatre. Exploring Form: The Anatomy of a Play will examine how a play is crafted to shape our comprehension of the story. An Octoroon uses the same dramatic conventions of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama, The Octoroon, but it also subverts those conventions to explore race in America in contemporary terms. Looking at source material and examples in the play, participants will unpack how Jacobs-Jenkins uses adaptation, melodrama, and meta-theatre as storytelling tools. The class will be taught by Literary Manager Sarah Rose Leonard. For more information>>