Preview: Capital Stage rolls out 2017-2018 season

Capital Stage’s 2017-2018 season promises to entertain—and provoke

“If you aren’t happy, make your own biscuit.”

“If you aren’t happy, make your own biscuit.”

Photo courtesy of Capital Stage

Capital Stage is located at 2215 J Street. Single tickets for the 2017-2018 season are $45-22; season subscriptions are $120-$124.For more information call (916) 995-5464 or visit

The new season at Capital Stage begins this week, with An Octoroon—a play about race, slavery and America from the 1800s onward. It opened last week and runs through October 1. For those unfamiliar with the word, an octoroon is an archaic 19th century American term for “a person who is one-eighth black by descent”—i.e. one great-grandparent was black. Similarly, a person who is one-quarter black—one grandparent—was called a quadroon.Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (he adapted it from Dion Boucicault’s 1859 play by the same name), it was a 2014 Obie Award Winner for Best New Play.

Michael Stevenson, producing artistic director of Capital Stage said that the play still has relevancy despite its historical setting.

“When I read this script, I laughed out loud, because it made me think about America now,” he says. “It is a reinvention of 19th century melodrama—with new stuff. A modern playwright leads you into the story, but a historical playwright is there also. It is a comment on race, a comment on modern-day America, and it carries strains of the past into the future.”

Directed by Judith Moreland, An Octoroon aims to provoke, Stevenson adds.

“It is a challenging piece, with funny and incendiary scenes, including black actors in whiteface,” he says.

The rest of Capital Stage’s new season promises to be just as stimulating. The complete run-down is as follows:

Luna Gale: Stevenson will direct this play (October 18-November 19), which tells the story of a social worker supervising the case of baby Luna Gale. The child’s parents have experimented with meth and now there is a custody battle; it won the 2015 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award.

“This is a wonderful social drama about how far you are willing to go [to] do what’s right,” Stevenson says.

Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberly: This holiday play isn’t part of the company’s subscription series, but regulars will find it worth adding on (December 6-December 30). Directed by Capital Stage co-founder Peter Mohrmann, Stevenson calls it a charming and a “brilliant sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”

The Nether: A sci-fi drama by Jennifer Haley, Stevenson calls this “a dark fable about the possible future of the internet and virtual reality. (January 23-February 25). It was a nominee for the 2015 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play as well as the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Winner.

The Arsonists: Set in Florida, this play reimagines the ancient Greek tragedy Electra, incorporating poetry and music (March 14-April 15).

Marjorie Prime: Written by Jordan Harrison, this sci-fi play was a 2015 Pulitzer Prize nominee for Best Play (May 2-June 3). Directed by Capital Stage co-founder Stephanie Gularte, Stevenson describes it as a story “about aging parents and how you deal with grief in the age of artificial intelligence.”

The Thanksgiving Play: Stevenson calls this 2015 play from Larissa Fasthorse a “wickedly funny satire” about people who put on a pageant every year with no Native American actors. (June 20-July 22). In other words, “political correctness, ego and ignorance collide.”