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Blackface Meets Whiteface and Urges Viewers to Question Race: Georgia Southern Theatre & Performance to Present ‘An Octoroon’

What happens when you are an African-American playwright who wants to write a comedy about slavery by adapting the 19th-century abolitionist melodrama The Octoroon, and most of your white actors bail on you because they “don’t feel comfortable”?  The answer? An Obie Award-winning, radical adaptation of Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama “The Octoroon,” where the antebellum south and 21st-century cultural politics collide. The Georgia Southern Theatre & Performance Program presents “An Octoroon,” written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Nicholas Newell.

Jacobs-Jenkins highlights the politically insensitive language and character constructions found in the old melodrama and turns the audience’s discomfort to laughter as he deconstructs the ideas of race. As the family of the Terrebone plantation faces foreclosure and fight for their survival quixotic characters like the drunken Irish ghost of the original writer and a mysterious bunny join the crowd on stage.

Stimulating, yet still entertaining, “An Octoroon” cleverly highlights the disparities of an entire race with it’s use of language and powerful racial metaphors. In 2014, “An Octoroon” won Best New Play at the Obie Awards. “Jacobs-Jenkins writes brilliantly about race in America, and the cultural legacy employed in the service of tyranny since the earliest days of this nation. He knows how to curse through stereotypes and rip apart the fault lines of representation,” says the Chicago Tribune.

“An Octoroon” opens Wednesday, Nov. 8, and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 15. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee performance on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. There will be no show on Monday, Nov. 15.

“An Octoroon” features mature themes and language.

Student and youth tickets are $6. Faculty, staff and community tickets are $12. All seating is general admission. Group prices are available, contact the box office for information. The house opens at 7 p.m., and we encourage audience members to arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. to ensure good seats. The balcony will serve as late and overflow seating. Call the Box Office at 912-478-5379 to make reservations.


Posted in Theatre & Performance