An Octoroon

Cast: 5f 4m, doubling (5f 10m 1f/m)

Staging: can be simply staged

Performing rights not held by Nick Hern Books

Paperback, 96 pages ISBN: 9781848426412Publication Date:
18 May 2017
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)
First Staged:
Soho Rep, New York, 2014; Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, 2017; National Theatre, London, 2018

An Octoroon

By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Paperback £10.99£8.79

  • Most Promising Playwright, Critics' Circle Awards - 2018
  • Most Promising Playwright, Evening Standard Awards - 2017
  • OBIE Award for Best New American Play - 2014

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.

'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?"'

Press Quotes

'Coruscating comedy of unresolved history… this decade's most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today'

Ben Brantley - 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

'How do you deal with slavery as a black American playwright? Take someone else's play, and play with it. Problematise it. Take the piss out of it. Take the piss out of the idea, too, of a 'black playwright' being constantly expected to confront race issues. But don't forget to still punch the audience in the guts. That's what Branden Jacobs-Jenkins does in An Octoroon… the play keeps you on your toes. It's bold, fearless playwrighting: laughing in the face of racism as well as allowing the horror of history to spell itself out'

Time Out

'Totally, totally bonkers… Jacob-Jenkins' text has a madcap mania and a rich vein of absurdist humour… An Octoroon is a play that refuses to kowtow to the audience's preconceptions, that dances with stereotypes and teases relentlessly with sly race politics'

The Stage

'A fresh and thought-provoking examination of the uniquely American experience of race and colour… forces the audience to confront uncomfortable issues and yet remains funny and incredibly engaging'

Broadway World

'So energetic, funny, and entertainingly demented, you can't look away'

New York Post

'The play uses the plot of the Irish playwright Dion Boucicault's 1859 melodrama The Octoroon... as the starting point for a bigger, wilder, more hilarious play about the tremendous, often tragic difficulties of identity, and life, for us all'

New Yorker

'A wildly imaginative new work'

Village Voice

Cast: 5f 4m, doubling (5f 10m 1f/m)

Staging:can be simply staged

Performing rights not held by Nick Hern Books

Paperback,96 pages ISBN: 9781848426412Publication Date:
18 May 2017
Size: 198mm x 129mm£10.99 £8.79You save £2.20 (20%)

Also by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins:

The Comeuppance

Go to author page...

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