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The Emperor Jones

Closed May 21, 2017

"One of O'Neill's most haunting, visceral works, and this nightmarish staging does it full justice."

The New York Post

Why See The Emperor Jones?

Welcome to the Jungle

One of Eugene O'Neil's first major successes, The Emperor Jones is a hallucinatory descent into madness, oft compared to King Lear and Macbeth. Born out of O'Neil's damning opinion of the United States occupation of Haiti, the story follows an African American man who declares himself king of a Caribbean island. It isn't long until power goes to his head, and the native population rebel against his oppression and force him to flee.

This Irish Repertory production stars British actor Obi Abili in the lead role, returning to the New York stage after his acclaimed turn in Ivan van Hove's recent revival of Antigone, where he acted alongside Juliette Binoche.

What is the Emperor Jones About?

Told mainly through flashbacks, The Emperor Jones is the story of Brutus Jones, who we first meet hacking his way through a deep jungle. He is fleeing the angry natives of a Caribbean Island, who have dethroned him as their king and are now out for his blood. We learn of Brutus' troubled past, and how, following a jailbreak in the US, he managed to scheme his way into the position of monarch on the island. Now, with his former subjects closing in, he is forced to look back on his oppressive regime and repent for his power-crazed mistakes.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 1 March 2017

Opening night: 12 March 2017

Run time

70 minutes, no intermission

Cast and Creative


Obi Alibi as Brutus Jones
William Bellamy
Carl Hendrick Louis
Sinclair Mitchell
Angel Moore
Andy Murray
Reggie Talley


Choreography by Barry McNabb
Set Design by Charlie Corcoran
Costume Design by Antonia Ford-Roberts & Whitney Locher
Lighting Design by Brian Nason
Music by Christian Frederickson
Sound Design & Music by Ryan Rumery & M. Florian Staab
Puppet and Mask Design by Bob Flanagan
Props Designer by Deirdre Brennan
Production Stage Manager: Karen Evanouskas
Assistant Stage Manager: Rebecca C. Monroe

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