“New World,” an original Gitana Productions one-act play about three St. Louis based refugee women from Afghanistan, Bosnia and the Republic of the Congo, will be performed on October 1 and October 2. The play had a limited run last year and in February 2016 and proved to be so successful that the company is bringing the play back as part of the annual St. Louis Arts Experience. http://stlartsexperience.org
Where: Nahed Chapman New American Academy, 1616 S. Grand Blvd., Gallaudet Bldg., St. Louis 63104
When: Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:00 PM and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 3:00 PM
Tickets: $12/per person. Secure tickets at www.gitana-inc.org
Based on interviews with refugee women and a collaboration with the Center for Survivors of War and Torture, a mental health agency Gitana found that the response of the St. Louis community was heartfelt and enthusiastic such that audience members wanted to know more about what they could do to assist refugees in St. Louis.
According to Cecilia Nadal, Executive Director and founder of Gitana, “We knew going into this that the theme was important and relevant given where we are as a country in grappling with issues of immigration. We knew that Lee Patton Chiles had crafted a compelling story based on the lives of refugee women living in St. Louis. What we did not expect was how incredibly moved our early audiences were such that they wanted to find ways of contributing to the welcoming and support of refugee women in St. Louis!”
The one-hour play by Lee Patton Chiles is based on interviews and documented accounts of three women who came to St. Louis hoping to create a new world by healing old world wounds. Actors Jeanitta Perkins, Jessica Alvarado and Sheri Gonzalez have performed the play to standing ovations under the direction of Vivian Anderson Watt. A Q & A session with the participation of community leaders working with immigrants will follow each performance. Based on written audience surveys 95% of the respondents rated the play as “Excellent” and 97% said the play was “Extremely valuable to the St. Louis Community.”
“We see Bosnian and Afghan women but have no idea what they have been through and how hard it is for them to leave one world and come to another.”
“The three actresses were unbelievable in their portrayal of these women. People were so moved. They wanted to know how they could help now that they knew the truth. What an education!”
“The play changed my mind regarding refugees. I was aware of their problems but not aware of their traumas. I saw another dimension, much deeper.”
“The heartbreaking portrayals were electrifying, informative and penetrating. The language, movements and actions were so descriptive, excellent use of space, overwhelmed by the message.” Tina Farmer, Theater Critic
The Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council and the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis provide partial support for Gitana Programs. Gitana is collaborating with the Nahed Chapman New American Academy to bring this production to St. Louis audiences.
ABOUT GITANA PRODUCTIONS
Gitana Productions, Inc. is a not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural awareness and collaboration by bringing international music, dance and drama to the St. Louis community. Events produced by Gitana present a rarely seen diversity of international and local artists exhibiting both traditional and innovative artistic expressions. For more information, visit www.gitana-inc.org or call Gitana Productions at (314) 721-6556.