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You are here: Home Theatre Press Releases 2009-10 Press Releases PS122 Presents Branden Jacobs-Jenkins & Gavin Quinn's THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON
Friday, 04 June 2010 16:24


Performance Space 122
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins & Gavin Quinn’s


A contemporary take on Dion Boucicault’s infamous 19th century melodrama about racial politics and identity in America.


Wednesday, June 16 - Saturday, July 3

Performance Space 122 and Pan Pan have teamed up Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, one of NYC’s most incendiary new playwrights, with Gavin Quinn, one of Ireland’s most provocative directors, for what is sure to be a Molotov cocktail of contemporary theatre performance.  THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON is a collaborativeadaptation of 19th century Irish playwright Dion Boucicault's infamous melodrama.

After immigrating to the United States, Boucicault’s Octoroon premiered at one of New York City’s premiere theaters in 1859, while the country was on the brink of the Civil War. The Octoroon became immensely popular and created one of the earliest occurrences in American popular theater where the use of a popular entertainment such as the melodrama, created dialogue and controversy about contemporary societal issues; abolition, African Americans, and slavery in America.

THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON is a bombastic, super-theatrical, full-scale investigation of that classic intersection of theatre and identity politics.  Reconceived and recreated with real actors, real sets, real costumes, and what may turn out to be a real slave auction, this 21st century adaptation seeks to understand why New York audiences can't seem to get enough of plays about Irish folks and black people and racism and America. 

In anticipation of this event, Artistic Director of PS122, Vallejo Gantner said “We're thrilled to have Branden Jacobs-Jenkins latest exploration of race in America. It continues PS122's venerable history of working with polemic, deeply experimental new writing that challenges our ways of thinking, being and social interaction. Like Boucicault, Jacobs-Jenkins polemics are surprising, disturbing and have divided critics and audiences. I have loved, hated, been horrified, perplexed and compelled by everything of his I have seen - frequently all at the same moment. Beneath the face paint there is a riveting intelligence that, like Young Jean Lee, Thomas Bradshaw and many others that gazes unafraid upon its own biases, absurdities and contradictions.”

Ben Brantley of The New York Times had this to say about Pan Pan and Mr. Quinn’s last show, The Crumb Trail, at PS122: “How stimulating it was for me to wake up in 2009 in the hands of [a] present-tense theater company who knows what [it’s] doing.”  This is the third time Mr Quinn will be presented by Performance Space 122, including Pan Pan’s NY premiere with Oedipus Loves You in 2008. 

Artistic Director Vallejo Gantner says, “After two wildly successful runs of Pan Pan at PS122, it’s a fitting and exciting moment to be able to have Gavin and Aedin collaborating with Branden and an NYC-based cast and team. For us it’s a logical and significant way of deepening and broadening both NYC’s and PS122's global theatrical reach.”

THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON  is a co-production with Pan Pan; Designed by Aedin Cosgrove.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Playwright) is a former playwriting fellow at the New York Theatre Workshop, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the Public Theater’s Emerging Writing Group, and a member of the ArsNova Playgroup. He is the recipient of the 2009 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting and the 2009 Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship. His full-length plays include Appropriate, The Change, and Neighbors, presented in Feb 2010 as part of the Public Theater’s PublicLab.

Gavin Quinn (Director) is joint artistic director of Pan Pan which he co-founded in 1991 with Aedin Cosgrove. Gavin is also joint Artistic Director with Aedin Cosgrove of The Pan Pan International Theatre Symposium, founded in 1997. (Nominated Special Jury Award, 2001 Irish Times Theatre Awards) Gavin is a grant recipient of the New York Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Gavin is a Board member of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, The Irish Theatre Institute, Irish Modern Dance Theatre and the National Association of Youth Drama.

Performance Space 122 is one of New York's ultimate destinations for cutting-edge theatre, dance, music, live art and multi-media. PS122 is dedicated to supporting and presenting artists who explore innovative form and provocative content and who rigorously challenge the boundaries of contemporary performance; PS122 is committed to a steadfast search for pioneering artists from a diversity of cultures, nations and beliefs.  

Pan Pan was founded by Aedin Cosgrove and Gavin Quinn in 1991 and creates theatre is off a contemporary attitude with a lot of personal feelings attached. Our Theatre is how we saw the world Yesterday, and sometimes, towards the end of the performance, how we see the world Today. Artistic Directors: Gavin Quinn, Aedin Cosgrove. General Manager: Aofie de Faoite. Pan Pan has created 17 new productions and has toured throughout Ireland as well as Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, U.K, USA, Italy, Norway Sweden, Poland, Austria, Australia and Korea. Kindly supported by Culture Ireland, The Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council.

THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON is a co-production with Pan Pan. Support provided by a Commission Grant from the Jerome Foundation, Culture Ireland, The Arts Council of Ireland, Dublin City Council, and the Axe-Houghton Foundation. AEA approved showcase.

What’s black and white and red all over?

Trailer by Hannah Carpenter

THE OCTOROON: AN ADAPTATION OF THE OCTOROON BASED ON THE OCTOROON  runs Wednesday, June 16 - Saturday, July 3 on the following schedule:

Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 6PM

SPECIAL EVENT: Thursday Night Social on June 24! PS122’s post-show party where the refreshments flow freely!


Tickets $18, $15 (students/seniors), $11 (with the PS122 Passport)

Available at , 212-352-3101 and at the Box Office.

Performance Space 122 is located at 150 First Avenue at E. 9th St., NYC, NY 10009.

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