A Black playwright is struggling to find his voice among a chorus of people telling him what he should and should not be writing. He comes across a therapist who recommends adapting his favorite play, The Octoroon by Dion Boucicault, as a jumping off point out of his writer’s block. He gives it a try but quickly realizes that getting white, male actors of today to play evil slave owners is not an easy task. So, instead of giving up, he decides to play the white male roles himself. What ensues is an upside down, topsy-turvy world where race and morality are challenged and intensified. A theatrical, melodramatic reality is created to tell the story of an octoroon woman (a person who is ⅛ black) named Zoe and her quest for identity and love. The audience is catapulted into a space that plays to their stereotypes and questions our society’s relationship to humanity and our history. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon is a whirlwind of images and dialogue that leaves no one out of the conversation and makes no apologies for asking the hard questions.
An Octoroon guide sections