Bogotá Prison Pageant, Part 1

This episode explores the beauty pageant that takes place in the national women's prison in Bogotá, Colombia. Actors perform monologues based on interviews with contestants, inmates and staff at the prison.


This episode marks the first in a series exploring a beauty pageant that takes place at El Buen Pastor, the national women’s prison in Bogotá, Colombia. Working with a group of Colombian artists and interviewers, Civilians Artistic Director Steve Cosson spent a month documenting the preparation for the pageant. The material featured in this series — performed for the first time at the 92YTribeca in June of this year — represents English translations of the interviews conducted during that month.

In this episode, Vanessa Aspillaga plays woman serving time for her connection to a guerrilla group, Carolina Ravassa plays an inmate incarcerated for her part in an attack on the presidential palace in Bogotá in 2002, and KJ Sanchez plays a public servant convicted of using her office to assist the paramilitaries. The interviews highlighted here were conducted by Lorena Lopez and Alejandro Jaramillo.

To subscribe to “Let Me Ascertain You” — the Civilians’ podcast — using iTunes, click here.

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