Food & Drink

ArtsWest Adapts a Dated Melodrama For the Times

"An Octoroon" will have a first look show on April 3 and then will run from April 19 to May 13.

By Gavin Borchert March 30, 2018


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Seattle magazine.

This article appears in print in the April 2018 issueClick here to subscribe.

If the weirdly antique terminology of An Octoroon gives you pause—it refers to a person who is one-eighth black—that’s because this is a contemporary deconstruction of Dion Boucicault’s melodrama The Octoroon, which packed ’em in in Dickens’ day.

Through copious use of fourth-wall breakage and white-, red- and blackface, this Obie award-winning 2014 play from rising New York-based playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has concocted a provocative theatrical experience that uses the form’s conventions to comment on racial issues.

Piloted by a cast and crew of Seattle’s own ascending theater stars, including director Brandon J. Simmons, set designer Julia Welch and lighting designer Matthew Webb, it’s another show in ArtsWest’s season-long exploration of outsiders.

Times and prices vary. ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery, West Seattle, 4711 California Ave. SW; 206.938.0963.


Follow Us

Dark Emotions, Lighthearted Interactions

Dark Emotions, Lighthearted Interactions

Whim W’Him presents two emotion-inducing premieres to close out the season

Last weekend, choreographer Olivier Wevers stood on the stage at Cornish Playhouse, asking the audience to drop their preconceived notions and open their hearts to art...

Abrupt Write Turn

Abrupt Write Turn

Zachary Kellian’s decision to pursue a new career nets him recognition

Zachary Kellian ditched a career he loved, as he puts it, “to live out a dream.”

Finding Place in Pictures

Finding Place in Pictures

Artist Sky Hopinka’s first solo museum exhibit in the northwest showcases his creative approach to language and identity

“I had cassette tapes and workbooks, but it was hard because I was living in Washington, and my tribal language has roots in Wisconsin,” Sky Hopinka says. Learning alone, he could listen to prerecorded Hocak phrases and practice writing letters and words, but an essential component was missing — another person to speak with. Photo

Feeding Ghosts to Free Them

Feeding Ghosts to Free Them

Artist Tessa Hulls creates a revealing graphic novel to help her deal with childhood trauma

Seattle artist Tessa Hulls’ new graphic novel Feeding Ghosts is a deeply stirring narrative of loss, mental illness, and intergenerational trauma. She says that she wrote it to answer this question: What broke my family? Much of the book is about repetition, and how three generations of women in Hulls’ family were emotionally crippled by