“An Octoroon,” a satire that tackles racial stereotypes, will be the first play to be performed on the new outdoor stage at the Fountain Theatre, it was announced Tuesday.
Winner of the Obie Award for Best American Play, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play was hailed by the New York Times as “this decade’s most eloquent theatrical statement on race in America today.”
“I’m proud the Fountain will introduce this bold play to Los Angeles audiences on our new outdoor stage,” said Stephen Sachs, the theater’s artistic director. “It could not be timelier. The moment has come for our nation to confront its own racist history. Branden uses satire to get to the dark core of American slavery and the racial stereotypes that continue to plague this country today.”
A Fountain Theatre statement describes the play as “a radical, incendiary and subversively funny riff on Dion Boucicault’s once-popular 1859 mustache-twirling melodrama set on a Louisiana plantation. A spectacular collision of the antebellum South and 21st century cultural politics, `An Octoroon’ twists a funhouse world of larger-than-life stereotypes into blistering social commentary to create a gasp-inducing satire.”
Earlier this year, the Fountain received approval from the city of Los Angeles to install the outdoor stage in its parking lot for the purpose of safely presenting live performances and other events during the coronavirus pandemic at a site where chairs will be positioned according to COVID guidelines to accommodate 84 viewers.
Construction is set to begin this month, with the opening of “An Octoroon” slated for an as-yet undetermined date in June.
“Everything now depends on the COVID numbers,” Sachs said. “Once they drop to a level where the county Department of Public Health allows a gathering outdoors of one hundred people, with safety guidelines in place, we’re good to go.”
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