Piece Comment

Review of Don't Take The Colors Apart

Many times, poetry and play readings don't work on radio--they require too much attention and aren't compatible with the way most contemporary listeners use radio. However, this piece is a perfect example one tactic to make spoken art incredibly poignant on the radio.

The documentary profiles the life of Venila Hasu Houston, whose ethnicity is African-America, Japanese, and Native American. What makes this documentary interesting is it explores the stories, complexities, and emotions behind her unique mixture of DNA.

First, the documentary details her families history: how her parents met, their life in Junction City, Kansas, and the peculiarities of growing up with the product of such a unique cultural mix. Just this section alone justifies a listen.

Then, as the story evolves and takes on additional depth and color, the story is partially told through readings of Houston's poetry and plays. These readings are woven with interview segments and narration. It sounds like a lot--but it works. It works well.

Additionally, the documentary has a great sense of craft. It is meticulously recorded, edited, and produced. It is 26 minutes, but feels like it lasts about five.

Wonderful work.