The playwright, who originally aligned with Irish playwright Gavin Quinn on the project, took over directorial duties of the play (which he has since revised) earlier this month. Previously, PS 122 stated it was "disappointed with the outcome but supports the mutual decision of all parties not to continue as originally envisaged." The piece is based on Dion Boucicault’s 1859 play about American slavery.
Previews were delayed from the original start date of June 16 to June 19 in order to allow Jacobs-Jenkins to rework the piece and rehearse with the cast. The Octoroon, now billed as a workshop production, has since delayed all public performances until June 26 and will continue its run as scheduled through July 3.
Jacobs-Jenkins made a highly publicized debut with his minstrelsy-filled play Neighbors at the Public Theater last winter.
The cast features Karl Allen (George Peyton), Travis York (M'Closky), Ben Beckley (Scudder), Chris Manley (Pete), Gabe Leve (Lafouche), Jake Hart (Paul/The Assistant), Jason Black (Ratts), Danny Manley (Wah-no-tee/Dion Boucicault), Margaret Flanagan (Mrs. Peyton), Amber Gray (Zoe), Mary Wiseman (Dora Sunnyside), LaToya Lewis (Dido), Kim Gainer (Minnie) and Sasheer Zamata (Grace).
Here's how PS 122 describes The Octoroon: "A bombastic, super-theatrical, full-scale investigation of that classic intersection of theatre and identity politics, this play with 'real' actors, 'real' sets, 'real' costumes - and what might turn out to be a 'real' slave auction - seeks to get to the bottom of why New York audiences can't seem to get enough of plays about and racism and America." The Octoroon has costume design by Abigail Hahn, sound design by Jesse Rudoy, lighting design by Kevin Hardy and make-up design by John Carter. Allison Lyman is dramaturg. Johnson Henshaw produces.
Jacobs-Jenkins is a member of the Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group. His full-length plays also include Appropriate and The Change.
Tickets are available by phoning (212) 352-3101 or by visiting PS122.
PS 122 is located in Manhattan at 150 1st Avenue at East 9th Street.