The curtain

The curtain
The 3 trans-atlantic continents portrayed symbolically
October 17th 2015 performance at the "Le Villate" restaurant and theater
In honor of the memory of the slain emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines.

A mixed audience including international visitors, Haitian high school students

Last scene, We will remember!
Trailer for "3 Innocents and a spirit"
January 14th, 2014 our first performance of the expanded version of our historical mime at the N a Sonje Foundation center for a group of US university students from the University of Maryland hosted through Mennonite Central Committee, experiencing our first day language, cultural and historical presentation, "3 Innocents and a spirit".
 Contemplating on the large cross "planted" by Christopher Columbus on his first trip
 The "pirate" thinking about the demise of the Natives and the possible advantages of the Africans!
 Hearing the drums in the distance puts fear in the heart of the colonialist while packing their shipload of pillaged cargo.
 Surveying the motivations and material exploits of history
 In crisis between the exploits of history and a rising consciousness about the resulting destruction.
 2 "innocents" return to their roots and find their cultural heritage through the memory of the spilled blood over the centuries.
 3rd "innocent" struggling with the truth of the blood and the mask of domination that covers their humanity.
The Native preparing the incense for the peace ceremony.
 The Native princesses looking in anticipation of reconciliation and reparations
The visitor (participant in the first and last scenes, chosen from the audience of each performance) celebrates the act of reparations as all look on for the climax of this intense moment involving the histories of the 3 continents.
The N a Sonje Foundation has expanded it's original play "3 Innocents and a spirit" to now include the team of young local adults that work together with N a Sonje at the Foundation's center where we host foreign groups who want to learn language, culture and history of the country they have come to visit Ayiti!

student reactions from St. Mary's College, South Bend March 23 2006, #1

"I really enjoyed this presentation type play. I have never been big into history and I do know the story and the basic concept of what this play illustrated, but I have never actually seen it acted out in such a way. I fully agree and support their idea that if everyone can see, and try to relive the past for a moment, maybe that can bring hope and light to the future."
"I learned probably the most in the question and answer portion of the evening when Carla was talking about the white people returning to nature and getting back to the core of our origins. I was really struck. I never have realized exactly how much we have strayed from what is true and real in that sense, turning to a love for power and money and letting that drive us when really, as she illustrated by removing the silver mask and replacing the wreath of flowers, returning to nature and our roots is what can and will get us back on track. I loved this."
"I also really liked the way Carla spoke about Jesus and the cross through this entire production. I suppose it was not just specifically Carla, but all three of them making the distinction that the cross did not represent Jesus's love, but rather the slavery and oppression that was brought through that religion. It was through Christianity that they justified slavery and I really did not know that before. I really like when Carla said that like Jesus if we can live through and experience the pain of our ancestors and the past, then together we can spread love and do great things. I think that is remarkable and I've never thought or it has never been brought to my attention this idea."
"One last thing that I really was taken aback by was when Djalòki was describing the origin of Creole, he said it was a language that came from a time of suffering and resistance. When he told the stories about how they put all the people together so that they could not communicate, but then rising above this and working it out to form Creole, the way in which he told it was beautiful. You could feel when he spoke, his intense love and passion for all of this.
I learned a lot! I knew basically none of this and was absolutely blown away by this performance and the question / answer time after."

student reactions #2

2) "3 Innocents and a Spirit"
The presentation of "Three Innocents and a Spirit" was very moving and informative. The stylized form of the play was effective. It focused on the players rather than their words. Anyone could understand the meaning and the information of the play. It's designed for any culture, language and education level. I also enjoyed how compact each time period was. It made it easy to follow and my attention didn't stray. The addition of the pirating in the Caribbean in the 1500's was an intelligent idea and it was also informative. It's a form of colonization that many people don't know about or just tend to forget about. The inclusion of the Saint Mary's student was smart. It showed someone totally willing to learn and participate in others' [experience]. This in turn helped to show how unwilling to learn and participate in the cultures the British were. The student's part in the end showed how the youth of today are going to remember. The end of the play about reconciliation was beautifully done. The red ribbon was a simple yet effective symbol for al the bloodshed and pain that was left all over the world throughout history. In all, this presentation was very effective in teaching as well as stirring strong emotions.

About the tour and the play

The N a Sonje Foundation presents Three Innocents and a spirit, a historical drama depicting the interactions of the peoples from the Americas, Europe, and Africa from before the time of Christopher Columbus, and the cultural crises that developed as a result. The cast engages in a post-production discussion, creating an open forum for ideas and solutions that can help towards the healing of our fractured societies.
Three Innocents and a spirit is performed by a team of Haitian men and women representing the Native American and African cultures, respectively, and an American woman representing the European culture. Dressed in symbolic costumes, the  actors weave together mime, interactive participation, authentic historical texts and music to demonstrate the progression and effect of historical events.
The play exposes the destruction and acculturation of the Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans, which resulted in a transfer of wealth and natural resources to Europe. During the drama the Native American, European, and African characters experience a transformational awakening through which they realize their physical and spiritual losses, as well as their mutual need for one another. The three characters then offer each other gestures of compassion and forgiveness, ultimately recognizing the need for healing and reconciliation.

This drama is a highly stylized and portrays in simple form the lives of the native peoples of 3 continents and their mutual history. "N a Sonje's" intentions are to reconnect us to events and their lasting results rather than to define or describe any one particular culture, tradition, historical event or dates in precise detail but our desire is that through mime, music and limited resources a moment of deep reflection about our collective histories can be used to dream of a future of peace. This is "N a Sonje's" hope. Most of the colonial depiction is taken from a Haitian historical perspective which embraces the same spirit of revolt against domination felt everywhere.
"3 Innocents" is performed to a soundtrack that has only three narrative texts. but since the actions are mimed to music and sound effects of well-known historical events, the heart knows the rest!
The N a Sonje Foundation speaks at high schools, colleges, universities, churches, businesses and organizations, as well as with local and national media about Haiti and its special role in this historical context.

article published in the Denver Metro State University paper after our second performance during the 2006 spring tour

Embracing the past: Haitian troupe tells painful story of slavery and genocide, points to path of healing in: “Three Innocents and a Spirit” The stylized and intimate drama, “Three Innocents and a Spirit,” explores the impact of a colonial clash of cultures, even as it seeks to clarify the issues and heal historical wounds. The creative force behind this historical piece is the N a Sonje Foundation, a group from Haiti that strives to contribute to global awareness and social memory through performance and tactile experience.
N a Sonje’s name is a Creole phrase that translates as “we will remember.” The affirmation serves as the organization’s mission statement, as the three-person troupe seeks most of all to heal historical wounds through artistic activism. Photos by Leah Bluntschli • Left: Djalòki Ntjitjagagi Jean Luc Dessables, representing the Native American people, offers a peace pipe as a healing gesture to the African and European peoples at the end of the performance of “Three Innocents and a Spirit” Feb. 12 at Atonement Lutheran church, Denver..
"Three Innocents and a Spirit” is an ambitious historical tableau, a condensed piece of stagecraft that encompasses over 500 years of history. The cast of characters is small, but the simplistic approach manages to encapsulate a stunning menu of times, places and personas. The cast members’ interactions symbolize the contact between nations and cultures, and the result is impressive in its potent message. The performance is completely mimed and the absence of dialogue only heightens the effect of the drama’s themes and statements. The tragic tale of colonialism is told in sounds, gestures and songs. Here, the topics are so vast and important that no words can properly capture their import. There is something utterly effective in the stark and simple approach.
Although “Spirit” tells the story of Western colonialism from a uniquely Haitian perspective, the story involves a global cast of characters that reaches over generations. Christopher Columbus landed with his fleet in what is now Haiti in 1492. Believing he had reached India, the Italian explorer labeled the natives “Indians” and sparked a long and painful process of conversion, colonization and dehumanization. The consequences of Columbus’ arrival were far-reaching. Haiti soon fell under Spanish occupation and the native Taino population was decimated by disease, massacres and slavery. The 4 million to 5 million Tainos who inhabited the Haitian islands before 1492 were quickly eradicated and, in 1503, the first black slaves landed on Haitian shores to take their place. As in the Americas, as in Africa, as in all the sites where human souls are sold like chattel and the land is a commodity traded between bureaucracies, a cycle of tragedy, revolt and violence followed. “Spirit” explores the impact on all parties involved. The central theme of the drama is the lasting impact of historical crimes. The consequences of slavery and domination impact the colonizers as well as the colonized, the victims of violence as well as its perpetrators. With limited resources and a minimalist dramatic approach, the N a Sonje troupe transports viewers through the ages as it awakens themto the past and the present that binds us all. By Adam Goldstein •

2006 Itinerary

1- February 4th 2PM at Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, Florida
2- February 12th 7PM at Atonement Luthern Church, Denver, Colorado
3- February 19th 7Pm at First United Church of Canoga Park, California
4- February 22nd 4PM at Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado
5- February 27th 12PM at Metropolitan State College, Denver, Colorado
6- March 3rd 12PM at Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado
7- March 5th 3PM at International House University of Chicago, Illinois
8- March 12th at South Shore Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois
9- March 16th at Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa
10- March 20th at Charles Martin Community Center, South Bend, Indiana
11- March 22 at Saint Mary's College, South Bend, Indiana
12- March 28th at Stockbridge United Methodist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan
13- March 29th at 1PM at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan
14- April 2 7PM at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, Philadelphia, PA
15- April 5th 7PM at Keene College, Keene New Hampshire
16- April 8th 6PM at Sacred Heart Church, Portland, Maine
17- April 9th 2PM at Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church, Portland Maine
18- April 12th 7PM at University of Mary Washington, Fredricksburg, Virginia
19- April 14th 8PM University of North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina
20- April 17th 7:30PM at Church of the Incarnation, Charlottesville, Virginia
21- April 18th 8PM at Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia
22- April 20th 7PM at Unitarian Universalist Church, Norfolk, Virginia
23- April 22 7PM at Rutgers Presbyterian Church, New York, New York
24- April 28th 7PM at First Presbyterian Church of Clark's Summit Pennsylvania