Kristiana Rae Colón

Kristiana Rae Colón

Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, and Executive Director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She recently debuted her first hip-hop one-act Lack on Lack in Victory Gardens Theater’s 2014 Ignition Festival of New Works. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos...
Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, and Executive Director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She recently debuted her first hip-hop one-act Lack on Lack in Victory Gardens Theater’s 2014 Ignition Festival of New Works. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work. In February and March 2013, she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, she opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf in Chicago while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere in London at the Arcola Theater. She also appeared on Season 5 of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Kristiana has taught English, Humanities, and Creative Writing at North Park University, Chicago State University, Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, and Malcolm X College, as well as served as a teaching artist for a number of nonprofit arts organizations including Young Chicago Authors, Gallery 37, and the Poetry Center. She believes in the power of art as a catalyst for social progress.

Plays

  • good friday
    The ricochet of bullets breaks the hush of academia’s ivory halls and four students and a teacher are trapped in a classroom. Attempts to remain calm are shattered by each new wave of terror and tension coils to the point of asphyxia. good friday tackles millennnial feminism and the intersection of gun violence and sexual violence.
  • one week in spring
    When a media scandal strikes close to home, Vera is catapulted into confrontation with past wounds she’s desperate to forget. A mysterious client arrives at her community nonprofit with more to her story than meets the eye, challenging Vera to decide where her activism ends and catharsis begins. Laced with hip hop and poetry, one week in spring explodes preconceptions about women’s sexuality and how social...
    When a media scandal strikes close to home, Vera is catapulted into confrontation with past wounds she’s desperate to forget. A mysterious client arrives at her community nonprofit with more to her story than meets the eye, challenging Vera to decide where her activism ends and catharsis begins. Laced with hip hop and poetry, one week in spring explodes preconceptions about women’s sexuality and how social media shapes millennial concepts of consent. D E V E L O P M E N T H I S T O R Y one week in spring was developed in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute Chicago where it received its first staged reading directed by Beau O’Reilly. It was also developed in Teatro Luna’s PlayLab series and received a staged reading directed by Ilesa Duncan as apart of the Lunada’s series. It was a finalist for Victory Gardens’ 2010 Ignition competition. one week in spring’s first workshop production appeared in Halcyon Theater’s Alcyone Festival and is currently running in Curious Theater’s RhinoFest, Chicago’s longest running fringe theatre festival. one week in spring was spawned from an investigation of media’s public discourse around private controversy, and the shifting nature of truth, particularly in response to sexual violence toward women. It plays in the gray area on a subject that is too often presented in black and white in America’s discourse around women’s sexual agency, particularly at a political moment where women’s rights are at the fore of legislative debates and Rick Ross’s raps celebrate date rape. Meanwhile, social media punditry expands platforms for self-made gurus to present sensational takes on the sensitive subject. What is the impact of another listicle arming women with “7 Ways to Not Get Raped at a Frat Party”? How do we balance the internet’s influence on personal empowerment versus its capacity to act as a placebo for true dialogue, change, healing? What is the difference between a victim and survivor? How are we complicit in the culture of sexual violence? Do we mean it when we tell women “it’s never your fault”? In a world where technology evolves faster than cultural values, one week in spring dissects the taboo of women’s sexual desire and agency against the backdrop of a world where the body is increasingly politicized
  • Octagon
    After Tahrir and Wall St get occupied, after the NSA taps all the phones and Syria kills all the journalists, the poets have much to say. Amidst the backdrop of a last-minute poetry slam, eight young poets traverse stages and the tightropes of their braided desires. Chimney, Chad, and Palace have an open slot on their team, and five other poets compete for it. The fiercest contender, Prism, is a woman with an...
    After Tahrir and Wall St get occupied, after the NSA taps all the phones and Syria kills all the journalists, the poets have much to say. Amidst the backdrop of a last-minute poetry slam, eight young poets traverse stages and the tightropes of their braided desires. Chimney, Chad, and Palace have an open slot on their team, and five other poets compete for it. The fiercest contender, Prism, is a woman with an appetite she’s not ashamed of, but the reigning champs have a hard time seeing her as more than a good-time girl. As love triangles become pentagons and octagons, Prism’s unbridled desires threaten to have her silenced for good. With three minutes to sway the judges, eight poets must decide which is more important, the points or the poetry, the privilege of free speech and expression, or the celebrity that comes along. Octagon rips open the clichés of the open mic, asking the cost of making a spectacle of ripping open our wounds. D E V E L O P M E N T H I S T O R Y Octagon was selected by Arizona Theater Company for the 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award. It was also selected for the 2014 Dionysos Cup Festival of Staged Readings produced by Polarity Ensemble Theatre in Chicago and the Trellis Reading Series at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago. In 2013, Bailiwick Chicago produced its first public reading in Chicago. It was developed in London in collaboration with director Nadia Latif. Octagon was conceived in a residency at the University of Illinois-Chicago in collaboration with director Derrick Sanders, former artistic director of Congo Square Theater. In February 2013, during Kristiana’s self-produced two-month book tour of the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments, she shared an early incomplete draft of Octagon with Nadia Latif, the London director who mounted the world premiere of her first play but i cd only whisper in October 2012. Nadia was thrilled about a new opportunity to collaborate and encouraged Kristiana to draft a complete version of the script before returning to the United States. Before leaving the UK, Kristiana produced a table reading of this new draft of Octagon in London with a cast of British slam poets and actors. She produced another such table reading in Chicago with American poets and actors in July 2013. In September 2013, Nadia traveled Chicago for a 5-day workshop to continue refining the play. Octagon is also developed in partnership with Prop Thtr through an original event series called Octagon Live, an auxiliary program conceived by Kristiana Colón wherein actors working on the development of the play compete in character in a real poetry slam against other poets for an equal chance at a $100 prize. The series allows actors an opportunity to experience the real world of slam and bridges the spoken word and theatre going audiences.