The Octoroon

By Dion Boucicault
Adapted by Mark Ravenhill

As part of a season of plays curated by playwright Mark Ravenhill, BBC Radio 3 presents new production of Dion Boucicault's 1859 melodrama The Octoroon -… 6 Show more

Drama on 3, Curated by Mark Ravenhill Episode 2 of 3

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

First broadcast: Sunday 05 May 2013

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s351n

As part of a season of plays curated by playwright Mark Ravenhill, BBC Radio 3 presents new production of Dion Boucicault's 1859 melodrama The Octoroon – a play that sparked debates about the abolition of slavery and the role of theatre in politics. The drama 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. When it first opened, two years before the start of the American Civil War, The Octoroon sparked debates about the abolition of slavery and the role of theatre in politics.

Cast (in alphabetical order):

Mrs Peyton …. Barbara Barnes
Sunnyside …. Geoffrey Burton
Jacob M'Closky …. Steven Hartley
Salem Scudder …. Toby Jones
Wahnotee …. Earl Kim
Dora Sunnyside …. Claire Lams
Paul …. John MacMillan
Zoe …. Amaka Okafor
Ratts …. Paul Stonehouse
Pete …. David Webber
George Peyton …. Trevor White

Music composed and performed by Colin Sell

Director: Sasha Yevtushenko
Production Co-ordinator: Lesley Allan
Studio Managers: Colin Guthrie, Alison Craig, Steve Oak
Executive Producer: Jeremy Mortimer. 5 Show less

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