The curtain

The curtain
The 3 trans-atlantic continents portrayed symbolically

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