Octagon | Broadway Armory Park | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Octagon The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Nov. 20 2016

Chicago poet, playwright, and activist Kristiana Rae Colón’s fantastical epic, in which a team of unceasingly lyrical spoken-word artists vie for a national slam poetry title as though it were Olympic gold, features several thrilling passages—namely, anytime the slammers perform Colon’s intricate, incendiary poems. (A crafty bundling of Miley Cyrus and Malala Yousafzai, recited by the troupe’s lone Muslim member, is particularly arresting.) Everything else in the two-and-a-half-hour escapade from Jackalope Theatre pales in comparison: its plot borrows excessively from Hollywood underdog films, and its main subplot, about sexually free-spirited Prism’s doomed devotion to taboo sex, reinforces the misogynist notion that too much sexual liberation inevitably leads to a woman’s downfall. Director Tara Branham’s cast is universally compelling and persuasive, however, despite occasional stretches of forced, unvaried exuberance. —Justin Hayford

Price: $25

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