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28180: Fonda: Event: Historical Drama - Three Innocents and a Spirit -- in Philadelphia

From Dave Fonda:  david-f@comcast.net

‘Three Innocents And A Spirit’
a Historical Drama of the Collision of Cultures

Sunday, April 2, 2006, 7:00 pm	Pilling Hall Theater
First United Methodist Church of Germantown
6023 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA
www.fumcog.org for directions

David Fonda -
Rodney Chonka -

N a Sonje Foundation will present Three Innocents and a Spirit at 7pm on Sunday, April 2, in the Pilling Hall Theater at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6023 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia. The performance will mark the Philadelphia premiere on their nationwide tour.

Three Innocents and a Spirit is a ‘stylized and intimate’ historical drama of the collision of cultures of the peoples from the Americas, Europe, and Africa from before the time of Christopher Columbus through the present, and the cultural crises that have developed as a result. The play exposes the destruction and acculturation of Native Americans and the enslavement of Africans, which resulted in a transfer of wealth and natural resources to Europe.

The Denver Metropolitan calls it ‘an ambitious historical tableau, a condensed piece of stagecraft that encompasses over 500 years of history. The N a Sonje troupe transports viewers through the ages as it awakens them to the past and the present that binds us all.’

Set in Haiti and using it’s unique struggles as a microcosm of the exploitation of indigenous cultures by European colonizers, Three Innocents and a Spirit is performed by two Haitian men, representing the Native American and African cultures, and an American woman, representing the European culture. Dressed in period costumes, the three actors weave together mime, dance, puppetry, interactive participation, and music to demonstrate the progression and effect of historical events. During the drama the characters experience a transformational awakening through which they realize their physical and spiritual losses, as well as their mutual need for one another. 

The presentation lasts approx. 50 minutes. The cast will then engage in a post-production discussion, creating an open forum for ideas and solutions that can help heal our fractured societies. Refreshments will be available.

A suggested donation of $10, $5 for seniors and students, will help fund the N a Sonje Foundations efforts to create The Memory Village, a permanent interactive, historical village (located in Haiti on the site of a former village established by Africans who escaped from the sugar plantations during the colonial era) reenacting the truths of the transatlantic slave trade. Additional donations for this project are greatly appreciated.

The Cast

Carla Bluntschli: Carla moved to Haiti from the United States in 1985 with her husband and three daughters and worked with a small development agency until 1993. As a result of her personal experience, Carla became a cofounder of DOA/BN, an alternative educational tourism business, in order to share the positive forces of Haiti with the outside world. She considers this work an honor and a privilege.

Harry Nicolas: Harry (pronounced 'Ari' in Creole) is from Cape Haitian, Haiti, married with two sons and currently living in the mountains of Port-au-Prince. Ari cofounded DOA/BN with Carla. He considers himself an everyday, 'modern' Haitian who passionately shares his people's history and hospitality with the world.

Djalòki Ntjitjagagi Jean Luc Dessables (Dja): Dja is a postmodern seeker of ancient wisdom, integrating his multicultural Haitian roots (African, Native, European), and translating primordial vision and spirituality into today's context. 

The Organization

The N a Sonje Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in Haiti in August 2002. ‘N a sonje’ means ‘we will remember’ in Haitian Creole. N a Sonje’s mission is to encourage understanding based on respectful and equal relationships between peoples of different cultures, and to heal historical wounds through artistic activism. The Foundation emphasizes a more complete memory of the historical events that created the current political, economic, interpersonal and international dynamics at the level of nations, communities, and individuals.

DOA/BN (pronounced dwa-bay-en in Creole) is a not-for-profit organization founded in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1993 by Carla Bluntschli and Harry Nicolas. Their conviction is that Haiti's deep roots, wrenching history, and compelling truths will offer you gifts of new understandings. Their vision is to connect you with Haiti's people and history, allowing you to capture the community of their shared daily lives through intercultural experiences.

Historical Context

In 1791, after 300 years of colonial rule, slavery and genocide of Amerindian and African peoples, the slave population of St. Domingue launched a revolution that shook the entire western world's economic and political system to the core. On January 1st, 1804 independence was declared and the free nation of Haiti was created. Haiti’s central location and the loss of it’s dominant position in colonial trade brought an end to the transatlantic slave system and challenged the established religious and scientifically based ‘truths’ and justifications used by the colonizing powers.

(Religious justification by church authorities of the 17th and 18th centuries used the ‘black legend’ from the story of Noah and the curse of Ham as justification of black slavery as well as a providential means to ‘evangelize’ the cursed race. The science of anthropology at the time, led by the famous French philosopher Buffon, put forth the theory that there was a hierarchy of the races. In this pyramid of races, blacks challenge the orangutans for last position with the white at the pinnacle of ethical, aesthetic and physical perfection.)

While Haiti’s colonial oppression was at an end, the country has continued to suffer economic and political oppression from without, and societal and personal oppression from within. Haiti’s unique history makes it the ideal context for studying the cultural conflicts of European colonialism and the slave trade.

Sponsored by the Haiti Committee of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown.

For more information on the N a Sonje Foundation’s Memory Village Project, visit:

For more information on the DOA/BN visit:

For more information on the First United Methodist Church of Germantown, visit: