A Dig Deeper Article by Production Dramaturg Alex de Rouyan, Sam Villetard, and Alex Ward.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Princeton and Juilliard graduate and a professor of theatre and performance studies at Yale. He has authored numerous award winning plays including An Octoroon, Appropriate, and Gloria. Much of Jacobs-Jenkins work seeks to explore the complexities surrounding identity and how its various facets are perceived in society. He has long questioned the ways in which race and gender are explored on stage, a topic which the Pulitzer prize nominated Everybody fully delves into. In an interview with The Guardian for his play An Octoroon, Jacobs-Jenkins said:
“I don’t hate people who colour-blind cast but I hate people who colour-blind cast and pretend that they’re not, who pretend that these bodies on stage don’t actually carry specific meaning.”
That ‘specific meaning’ is something which he investigates in much of his work. Carefully yet confidently treading the line between the conventional and revolutionary, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and his play Everybody turns expectations on their head and transcends theatre traditions to offer a unique perspective on positionality. He brilliantly, yet succinctly, invites the audience to consider their own subject position and how their place in the world influences not only their perception of others, but their perception of themselves. Also, it’s funny.