Kristiana Rae Colón wins the award for National Latino Playwriting with the her magnificent play Octagon. A play that fuses both theater and poetry, a commanding and intelligent style of writing. The poem was written and developed during a tour where she was promoting her collected poems, Promised Instruments, across the United Kingdom. A play extremely poetic, empathetic, full of emotions and politics.
Kristiana Colón has many talents including being a poet, playwright, and actor. She is also an activist of #LetUsBreathe. Her academic journey ended with a BA at the University of Chicago, and an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For her poetry is a mean through which she explores romantic and personal transformation, using unconventional punctuation and capitalization.
Poets have a lot to say, that’s her message in Octagon, according to many critics. After, Syria killed all the journalists, and NSA tapped all the phones, after Tahrir and Wall St got occupied. For making the play come into reality, she teamed up with another strong female director Nadia Latif. The story takes place in a slam poetry battle, eight poets are challenging each others, and among them the protagonist of the play, Prism, a fierce unapologetic woman of color. While the rest of the poets express themselves each in his/her own way, Prism chose to focus on the throat as a source of breath, the place where sound rises, where you either give or receive pleasure. As well as asking the questions around the cost behind letting out and opening our wounds to the public as a judge.
Her play is a fierce witty analysis of norms, and discrimination based on gender, race and class. It is an open rebellion against all established norms for the sake of equality and life in general. An open invitation for living together in peace.
Finally, i love the choice of putting it into a play, rather than a novel or a poem. Only through theater can the audience engage fully in the experience of Prism and the play in total.