Photo credit: Bobby Plasencia
LA PALOMA PRISONER PROJECT
(Multifaceted theatre and outreach)
La Paloma Prisoner Project is a multi-faceted theatre and outreach project about the reclamation of identity by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women in the prison system.
The play is based on the true story of female inmates at the Buen Pastor prison in Bogota, that I visited in 2010, interweaves the ritualistic journey of Colombia’s social, political, and spiritual history; also based on my arts facilitation for women in maximum-security prisons/ youth in Rikers Island.
For the last eight years this project has taken the form of play presentations, panels, conferences, activist demonstrations, advocacy think tanks, workshops and community partnerships with orgs dedicated to serving impacted people.
La Paloma Prisoner is a multi-disciplinary play about the reclamation of identity by incarcerated women in the Colombian prison system. This new play centers on an infamous woman nicknamed “La Paloma” who transcendentally soars beyond physical and societal barriers to avenge the raped women of Bogota, leading the public to believe La Paloma may have magical avenger abilities. Based on the true story of a group of incarcerated women selected every year as beauty queen contestants at the Buen Pastor prison in Bogota, this new play interweaves the ritualistic journey of a “parade of prisoners” with Colombia’s social, political, and spiritual history. Claiming of this newfound power, the women redefine beauty, their own humanity, and their identity as criminals. La Paloma Prisoner revolutionizes not only the women’s lives, but prison society and the world beyond its walls.
Raquel Almazan’s La Paloma Prisoner participated in Hi-ARTS’ Critical Breaks Residency with a FREE staged reading on May 23, 2017. Directed by Estefania Fadul. Panel Discussion Unlocking Female Incarceration: A Panel Discussion Part III followed directly after the reading.
Hi-ARTS is a leading institution within the urban arts movement — developing and producing new works of performance and visual art, providing a platform for artists, and creating educational and community programs that connect and expand the audiences for urban arts.
La Paloma Prisoner (Impacted women series)
LPP – IWS – funded by the Arthur J. Harris Award – Columbia University, combines women who have experienced the criminal justice system alongside performers to engage with audiences with the themes of mass incarceration. On June 1st 2017 excerpts of the play were performed at Greenhope Services for Women as well Queensboro Correctional Facility in New York City; in collaboration with impacted women. Co – produced with Mightee Shero Productions. These unique readings were directed by Laura Gomez (who is a recurring actress on Orange is the New Black).
Co-produced with Mightee Shero Productions.
.On April 3, 2016 at Wild Project NYC the first installment of the reading series was staged.
Connecting the Dots: Intimate Partner Violence Prevention, Healing, and Advocacy Conference
Almazan participated as a panelist for the Mayors office (Department to Combat Domestic Violence) where she performed excerpts from La Paloma Prisoner and spoke to the process of working with survivors of domestic violence and being a survivor herself. In collaboration with Gibney Dance, Raquel also facilitated a break out session on the use of theatre, collage to create transformative solutions to domestic violence.
SERIAL KILLERS, SERIAL LOVERS
Publication of excerpts from the La Paloma Prisoner play, as well as scholar analysis and interview in Rome, with Alessandro Clericuzio in Performing Gender and Violence in National and Transnational Contexts; Edited by Maria Anita Stefanelli; by L.E.D. Edizioni universitarie di Letterature Economia Diritto, Milano.
“Still our shells will sing strongly”, says a Mayan teller in Café. And through Almazan’s plays, through her beautifully crafted scenes, her love stories that are moving in spite of the sad and violent backgrounds, through her undeniable mastery of dramatic language in all its aspects, made up of hetereglossic texts that prove culturally disturbing, these shells do speak to mesmerized readers and audiences.” Alessandro Clericuzio, essayist addressing Almazan’s Latin is America play cycle.
PURCHASE A COPY: HERE
La Paloma Prisoner (Colombia) is part of the LATIN IS AMERICA play cycle. This bi-lingual cycle of plays will ultimately have 33 parts, one for each of the countries and dependencies in Latin American.
“My major inspiration for La Paloma comes from my experience as an arts facilitator to incarcerated women at two maximum security prisons in South Florida. This play fuses years of activism in the field and continued work with incarcerated youth at Rikers Island prison in New York as well as the Chelsea detention center for women with Dream a Dream Project. Attendance in Bogota, Colombia at the Buen Pastor Prison for the Annual Celebration and Beauty Pageant. This piece is an offering to make visible the potential for ending mass incarceration.” – Raquel Almazan
More about LA PALOMA PRISONER: HERE