An Octoroon (review)

An Octoroon (review)
An Octoroon (review)
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THE PLAY: Actors perform a 19th century melodrama about a slave who is 1/8th black and in love with her master. It’s framed by presentations from actors playing this show’s author and the writer of the original.

 

THE PRODUCTION: This play is more about being challenged than entertained. Even though it’s an examination of race, especially in the world of plantations, the transgressive Brecthian approach is more about style. There’s certainly a message, but not much genuine interaction that would create emotional involvement. This strong cast energetically embraced the over-stylized melodrama, taking advantage of every opportunity to be outrageous and funny. As the playwrights, Jamar Jones brought a high-pitched versatility to his roles (his first act dance number was impressively choreographed) and Cole Metz created the show’s most comic characters. Act 2 starts out more robustly, with the slave auction and Jones’ one-man fight as the show’s highlights. Overall, the script is too long, which means that the cast sometimes gets mired in the dialogue. Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates has tackled the more farcical and controversial elements with assured gusto. The set by Dasia Gregg uses a plank motif with a few projections, but lacks interesting design. The other tech elements are solid. Running time: 2:25

 

THE POINT: A brilliantly-executed exercise in stylized theatrics with an incisive look at how stereotypical Southern plantation racism is still relevant.

 

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

 

At TheatreLAB thru 6/1

 

LISTEN TO MY REVIEW (as aired on WRIR)

 

Khadijah-Franks-Juliana-Caycedo. (Photography by Tom Topinka)

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