By Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Ciarán O’Reilly
Choreography by Barry McNabb
Cast: Obi Abili, William Bellamy, Carl Hendrick Louis, Sinclair Mitchell, Angel Moore, Andy Murray, Reggie Talley
Scenic Design: Charlie Corcoran
Costume Design: Antonia Ford Roberts, Whitney Locher
Lighting Design: Brian Nason
Sound Design, Music: Ryan Rumery & M. Florian Staab
Puppet and Mask Design: Bob Flanagan
First Performance March 1, 2017
Opening March 12, 2017
Final Performance April 23, extended through May 21, 2017
Submit a review for The Emperor Jones
O’Neill’s groundbreaking play ‘The Emperor Jones’ is the story of Brutus Jones, a despot who ascends the throne using lies, intimidation and the politics of fear. Following a prison break in the United States, Jones sets himself up as monarch of a Caribbean island.
When the Natives rebel after years of exploitation, Jones’s mesmerizing journey into darkness becomes a terrifying psychological portrayal of power, fear, and madness. With his demons in heavy pursuit, the Emperor is forced to confront not just the mortal sins of his past but also the depravities against his ancestors—all in search of forgiveness and salvation.
Laura Collins-Hughes – New York Times
That would be the director Ciaran O’Reilly, who has revived his gorgeous, astonishing production of Eugene O’Neill’s “The Emperor Jones” at Irish Repertory Theater, with largely the same creative team but an almost entirely new cast. Revelatory in 2009, when it starred the commanding John Douglas Thompson, it’s now both ferocious and blindsidingly affecting with the British newcomer Obi Abili in the title role.
Matthew Murray – Talkin’ Broadway
All of this is on full view, too, in Ciarán O’Reilly’s arresting production that just opened at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Though a revival of a 2009 mounting, albeit with a different cast led by a riveting Obi Abili in the title role, it still feels so freshly pressed that you can get an idea of the electric thrills that must have jolted its inaugural audiences of nearly 100 years ago. Because of its unfettered frankness, it’s no easier to watch or listen to than the more lacerating plays of, say, August Wilson. And, on its own terms, it’s every bit as important.