Kat Evasco is the co-director, dramaturg, and associate producer of Prieto, an autobiographical one-man show written by nationally acclaimed poet, educator, and performance artist Yosimar Reyes. Known for his frequent exploration into themes of migration and sexuality, Reyes takes Prieto viewers on a journey into his experience growing up queer in the hoods of Eastside San Jose. Reyes came to the United States from Guerrero, Mexico as an undocumented immigrant at the age of 3, and he uses humor, drama, and intrigue to recount his experience of understanding what that means.
Through the playful and lovably naive POV of 8-year-old Yosi, Prieto tells the story of an overprotective grandmother who recycles bottles to support her family while her grandson wonders why they can’t have money like his friends. It tells the story of chismosa vecinas (gossipy neighbors) who peek through their windows and watch as the neighborhood boys tease young Yosi for “acting like a girl”. To escape from the taunting and the daily toil, 8-year-old Yosimar creates an imaginary world for himself -- one made up of books and 90’s R&B.
The unique magic behind Prieto is the authenticity of Reyes’ voice -- the complex intersection of young Yosimar’s coming-of-age and coming-into-understanding of his queerness and his identity as an undocumented American. Reyes masterfully navigates topics that are often grave and entrenched in struggle, and he instead offers levity and celebration of becoming his full self against the backdrop of poverty, politics, and an unshakable spirit. Prieto remains unabashed and unapologetic in its critique of oppressive laws and traditions while offering truth, light, clarity, and above all joy.