REVIEW: An Octoroon (Woolly Mammoth Theatre)

Pictured: James Konicek, Kathryn Tkel and Jon Hudson Odom in Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s production of An Octoroon. Photo by Scott Suchman.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre’s remount of An Octaroon is just as bewildering as before. This play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins covers a great deal of ground, crashing together 19th-century minstrelsy, melodrama and commentary on race. James Konicek shines in his multiple guises, propelling forward this strange, tongue-in-cheek piece.

One of the treats awaiting the audience is Maggie Wilder’s delicious comedic performance with what is deliberately a wisp of material. Kathryn Tkel, who plays the titular octaroon, also delivers a fine performance with a bit of flare and weight.

Ivania Stack’s costume designs are serviceable but undistinguished. This is actually a good factor – distinguished would probably be distracting in this play. Some of Nataki Garrett’s direction (or framing devices, if you prefer) is eyebrow-raising. There’s enough going on in this play that there’s no need to clutter it up with extra framing devices.