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The Octoroon

1 hour, 30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 05 May 2013

By Dion Boucicault
Adapted by Mark Ravenhill

The Octoroon, Dion Boucicault's 1859 melodrama, sparked debates about the abolition of slavery and the role of theatre in politics. This production was recorded in front of an audience at Theatre Royal Stratford East, the venue that saw an earlier production of the same play in 1885.

The story centres around the inhabitants of the Louisiana plantation of Terrebonne. Zoe, the "octoroon" of the title, is the daughter of its owner Judge Peyton by one of his slaves, but she has been raised as part of the family. When the Judge dies, the plantation falls into financial ruin and the Judge's handsome nephew George arrives as heir apparent. George and Zoe soon find themselves in love, but their future happiness is thrown into jeopardy by the plantation's evil overseer Jacob McLosky who has dastardly designs on both the property and Zoe. McLosky will stop at nothing - not even murder.

Dion Boucicault's play contains all the elements of great melodrama - doomed love, murder, corruption, and live musical accompaniment throughout.

Music composed and performed by Colin Sell

Director: Sasha Yevtushenko
Production Co-ordinator: Lesley Allan
Studio Managers: Colin Guthrie, Alison Craig, Steve Oak

First broadcast in May 2013.


Dion Boucicault
Mark Ravenhill
Mrs Peyton
Barbara Barnes
Geoffrey Burton
Jacob M'Closky
Steven Hartley
Salem Scudder
Toby Jones
Earl Kim
Dora Sunnyside
Claire Lams
John MacMillan
Amaka Okafor
Paul Stonehouse
David Webber
George Peyton
Trevor White
Colin Sell
Sasha Yevtushenko
Jeremy Mortimer


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