An Octoroon

July 18-August 6, 2017

  • By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
  • Directed by Nataki Garrett
  • Two and a half hours, with one intermission

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Last year’s most talked-about, most unforgettable production is returning to Woolly for a limited three-week run: An Octoroon by new MacArthur Genius Grant-winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins!

A plantation on the brink of foreclosure. A young gentleman falling for the part-black daughter of the estate’s owner. An evil swindler plotting to buy her for himself. Meanwhile, the slaves are trying to keep things drama-free, because everybody else is acting crazy.

An Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Obie-winning riff on a 19th century melodrama that helped shape the debate around the abolition of slavery, is an incendiary adaptation. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a provocative challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859—and of today.

Because each individual theatergoer is different, Woolly Mammoth does not offer advisories about subject matter. If you have any questions about content, age-appropriateness, or stage effects that might have a bearing on your comfort, please ask.

Best New American Play, Obie Awards


"This decade's most eloquent theatrical statement on race."

New York Times

"Marvelous...handles hot-button topics with wit and wisdom."

Washington Post

"Masochistically brilliant."

Washington City Paper

"We need to talk about AN OCTOROON: a razor-sharp, thought-provoking, radical, comical blast from the past."

MD Theatre Guide

Meet the Playwright: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose credits include War (Yale Rep; forthcoming at Lincoln Center/LCT3), Gloria (Vineyard Theatre), Appropriate (Obie Award; Signature Theatre), An Octoroon (Obie Award; Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience) and Neighbors (The Public Theater). He is a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and is under commissions from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, MTC/Sloan, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His recent honors include the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams award. In addition to holding an MA in Performance Studies from NYU, Branden is also a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. He currently teaches in the Hunter College Playwriting MFA Program, where he is a Master-Artist-in-Residence.

Meet the Director: Nataki Garrett

Nataki Garrett is a Denver-based director, writer, producer and educator. She is the Associate Artistic Director of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the former Associate Artistic Director of CalArts' Center for New Performance (CNP), as well as the Associate Dean and the Co-Head of Undergraduate Acting for CalArts School of Theater. She is a recipient of the several awards including the MAP Grant and the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. Garrett is the co-Artistic Director of BLANK THE DOG PRODUCTIONS (BTD) a LA/NYC based ensemble Theater Company, which is celebrating its 10th year and is dedicated to developing and fostering new work by emerging, adventurous and experimental artists.

Nataki Garrett has directed across the United States, in Rwanda, and in Europe. She is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers. In addition to her freelance directing career, she has worked as an arts administrator with more than 15 years in non-profit and arts education.

Meet the Cast

JOSEPH CASTILLO-MIDYETT (Assistant/Pete/Paul) NEW YORK: Off-Broadway: The Acting Company: Of Mice and Men, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors; The Pearl Theater: Twelfth Night; 59E59 Theaters: Enjoy (American premiere); Rattlestick Theater: National Playwrights Festival. REGIONAL: Shakespeare DC: Much Ado; The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville: Dracula; Syracuse Stage: Glass Menagerie, Picasso at the Lapin Agile; Oregon Shakespeare Festival: The Clay Cart; Delaware Theatre Company: The Complete Works of Shakespeare; Texas Shakespeare: Amadeus; Peter in Peter Pan (dir. Mark Lamos); Misalliance; Savages, Christians and Other Homo Sapiens (dir. Adrian Hall). FILM: Collateral Beauty, C Street, From Nowhere, Nick and Nicky, Penance for the Slain, Hope Café, Kick Ball. TELEVISION: Homeland, The Following, Divorce.


SHANNON DORSEY (Minnie) Shannon Dorsey is thrilled to make her Woolly Mammoth debut. A true D.C. native, her credits include All the Way (Arena Stage), the Helen Hayes Award-winning A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Carmen (Kennedy Center/Synetic Theater); Unexplored Interior (Mosaic Theater Company); Two Trains Running (Round House Theatre); Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, In the Red or Brown Water, and Breath, Boom (Studio Theatre); Stick Fly (Everyman Theatre); and The Shipment (Forum Theatre). Regional credits include Safe House and The Trip to Bountiful (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); A Raisin in the Sun (Perseverance Theatre); The Great MacDaddy (Negro Ensemble Company/Korner Theatricals); The Power of the Trinity (SummerStage); and The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller (New York’s West End Theatre). Shannon received her B.A. in communications, theater and African-American studies at Temple University. She thanks God for the abundance of love and support from her family and friends.


JAMES KONICEK (Playwright/Wahnotee/Lafouche) Woolly Mammoth: Marie Antoinette, In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play. Forum Theatre: The Pillowman. Ford’s Theatre: Liberty Smith, Parade, 1776, Fly, Our Town, A Christmas Carol. Roundhouse Theatre: Pride & Prejudice, Around the World in 80 Days. Shakespeare Theatre Company: Man of La Mancha, Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Edward II. Folger Theatre: Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet. Olney Theatre Center: Dial M for Murder, Rancho Mirage, Annie, King of the Jews, Democracy, The Elephant Man. Imagination Stage: BFG, Peter Pan & Wendy. Studio Theatre: The Internationalist, Autobahn, Terrorism, Ivanov. The Kennedy Center: Unleashed, Blues Journey, Alex in Wonderland, Alice. Washington Stage Guild: Elling, Lord Arthur, Saville’s Crime. Arena Stage: Mother Courage, Born Yesterday. American Shakespeare Center: The Tempest, Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing, Knight of the Burning Pestle, Tartuffe. MFA - USD/Old Globe Theatre. ;www.jameskonicek.com


JON HUDSON ODOM (BJJ/George/M’Closky) Round House Theatre: Father Comes Home From the Wars: Parts 1, 2, & 3 Olney Theatre Center: Colossal (Helen Hayes nomination Outstanding Ensemble), Piano Lesson, and Hay Fever Forum: Passion Play (Helen Hayes nomination Outstanding Supporting Actor) Centerstage: Twelfth Night, Goodman Theatre: A Christmas Carol Rep Stage: Yellowman Fords Theatre: A Christmas Carol, Our Town Everyman Theatre: You Can’t Take It With You Studio Theatre: 2-2-Tango, Invisible Man(u/s) Keegan Theatre: A Few Good Men Theater Alliance: Reals, Imagination Stage: The BFG (Helen Hayes nomination Outstanding Ensemble), Constellation Theatre: The Ramayana, National Gallery of Art: Framed. Jon is an Artistic Associate at Olney Theatre Center and a member of The Ensemble at Forum. Education: University of North Carolina School of the Arts.


JOBARI PARKER-NAMDAR (Br’er Rabbit/Ratts) is honored and excited to make his Woolly Mammoth debut! He is a true DC native born at the Washington Hospital Center. A Duke Ellington School for the Arts and Howard University Alum. Recent credits include Lost in the Stars with the WNO and Five Guys Named Moe at Arena Stage and the Cleveland Playhouse, and Freedom’s Song at Ford’s Theatre.


ERIKA ROSE (Dido) last appeared at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company as Quincy/Bart in Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play; Sabrina in Lenny & Lou and Agent in The Mineola Twins. Other recent credits include, Woman in Falling Out of Time at Theater J and Hawa in In Darfur, for which she won the 2011 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress. She has performed at The Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Theater Alliance, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The African Continuum Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Everyman Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Pioneer Theater and more. Erika studied at The University of Maryland, College Park and The London Academy of Performing Arts. www.erikarose.com


KATHRYN TKEL (Zoe) is thrilled to be making her Woolly Mammoth debut. Other area credits include The Guard at Ford’s Theatre, Promised Land at Mosaic Theater Company, Venus in Fur and Hunting and Gathering at Rep Stage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Everyman Theatre and Mockingbird at The Kennedy Center TYA. She has performed regionally with Arizona Theatre Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, California Conservatory Theatre, Willows Theatre, Just Theatre, and Boxcar Theatre. Kathryn holds degrees in both Drama and Anthropology from the University of California at Irvine, as well as an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting.


JADE WHEELER (Grace) is thrilled to make her debut at Woolly Mammoth. Wheeler was last seen in Arcadia (Nora Theatre, Boston) under the direction of Lee Mikeska Gardener. Credits include Lost in the Stars (Washington National Opera), Debbie Allen’s Alex in Wonderland (Kennedy Center TYA), Ruined (Everyman Theatre, Baltimore),
Ruined (GableStage, Miami), Metamorphoses (Constellation Theatre), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare Theatre Company), All That I’ll Ever Be (Studio Theatre’s 2nd Stage), Race (GableStage, Miami), and Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (GableStage, Miami). Upcoming: Lucky Stiff (Stoneham Theatre, Boston). Wheeler’s One Woman Show Who Is Eartha Mae? is among those selected to be part of the 7th Annual United Solo Festival in New York City this October.


MAGGIE WILDER (Dora) Maggie most recently remounted the role of Melody in Bad Jews at Studio Theatre. Other DC credits include Rapture, Blister, Burn (Round House Theatre/Nominated for 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Hayes Production); She Kills Monsters (Rorschach Theatre); Failure: A Love Story (Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Helen Production), and Abominable (Hub Theatre); When She Had Wings and Aquarium (Imagination Stage); The BFG (The National Children’s Theatre); The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Adventure Theatre). She can be seen this winter in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Ford’s Theatre. Maggie is a graduate of the Boston University School of Theatre and shares her life with her husband, Doug. www.maggieawilder.com

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