Tickets

Rehearsing AN OCTOROON

Posted on September 20, 2017

Producing Artistic Director Michael Stevenson reflects on rehearsals for An Octoroon at Capital Stage

When I read An Octoroon, I remember being amazed at the script and at how the 19th century melodrama carried unintended echoes of the present. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ fearless and inventive adaptation jumbles time, contemporary values and humor with the hard realities of race in America today. I felt it was our obligation to do such a daring piece of theatre.

After Charlottesville, this play struck me with a new resonance. I felt I woke up in a new and disturbing world. After the shock and dismay of the white supremacist march in Virginia, we as a country started to question our identity and our progress – who are we?

I vividly remember the moment in rehearsal when one of our actors started putting on blackface. Judy Moreland, our director, and I were sitting in the theatre during our designer run, and the tension in the air was palpable. I squirmed in my seat, and watched with both fascination and dread as the actor playing Pete/Paul/Assistant carefully and silently applied the blackface makeup. It was a surreal feeling – witnessing something I never thought that I would actually see in real life. Just moments before, our lead actor had put on whiteface.

As I watched the actors fearlessly step across taboos, it occurred to me, the genius of this play is that it uses taboos and stereotypes to open our eyes to our own beliefs – to a take a new look at ourselves. Dion Boucicault, the author of the original play The Octoroon, wrote it as an anti-slavery piece, but he himself was full of prejudicial beliefs. It made me begin to question what beliefs do I carry that I’m not even aware of?

A friend of mine posted this picture the other day on Facebook with the caption:  “Here’s your statue.” 

We’ve come so far, but we still have so far to go.

 

Michael Stevenson
Producing Artistic Director
Capital Stage

 

Feb
20
Thu
7:00 pm Alabaster
Alabaster
Feb 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Alabaster
Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly Directed by Kristin Clippard NNPN Rolling World Premiere 2018 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize Winner January 22 – February 23, 2020  
9:30 pm CapChat
CapChat
Feb 20 @ 9:30 pm – 10:30 pm
CapChat
Join Capital Stage staff and artists in discussion immediately following select performances of each production! Our CapChats expand on your theatre-going experience with stimulating conversations with the production’s artists.
Feb
21
Fri
8:00 pm Alabaster
Alabaster
Feb 21 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Alabaster
Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly Directed by Kristin Clippard NNPN Rolling World Premiere 2018 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize Winner January 22 – February 23, 2020  
Feb
22
Sat
2:00 pm Alabaster
Alabaster
Feb 22 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Alabaster
Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly Directed by Kristin Clippard NNPN Rolling World Premiere 2018 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize Winner January 22 – February 23, 2020  
8:00 pm Alabaster
Alabaster
Feb 22 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Alabaster
Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly Directed by Kristin Clippard NNPN Rolling World Premiere 2018 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize Winner January 22 – February 23, 2020  
Feb
23
Sun
2:00 pm Alabaster
Alabaster
Feb 23 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Alabaster
Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly Directed by Kristin Clippard NNPN Rolling World Premiere 2018 David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize Winner January 22 – February 23, 2020  
Mar
11
Wed
7:00 pm Admissions
Admissions
Mar 11 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Admissions
Admissions by Joshua Harmon Directed by Michael Stevenson 2018 Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Awards Winner for Outstanding Play  Co-Production with American Stage March 11 – April 12, 2020