Door of No Return
Written and performed by Nehassaiu deGannes
Aug 18, 2017
8:30PM - 10:30PM
Partly autobiographical, but drawing primarily on historical research and present-day interviews, Door of No Return courageously excavates the rich, complex but often silenced multicultural legacies of New England.
Nehassaiu deGannes is a trickster/shaman figure voicing experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement, and resistance from a brilliant multiplicity of perspectives. Drawing on her Caribbean heritage and Canadian upbringing, her visits to West Africa, and her arrival in Rhode Island, Nehassaiu criss-crosses time and space to bring us stories from the 18th century and the Triangle Trade, as well as unexpected contemporary narratives. Here in one room are: Marie Angelique, enslaved in Montreal but very likely purchased in Rhode Island, a young Columbian man defying 21st century expectations, an Iraqi-American woman re-inventing herself post 9-11, indentured Wampanoag, and the slave dungeons of Cape Coast. Door of No Return defies the segregation of American histories and invites us all to stand at the crossroads.
“Nehassaiu deGannes is tremendous. At times, she’s from Jamaica, then Ghana, then Cape Verde, or Senegal. Or else she’s a Native American, or a hyphenated modern American: Puerto Rican, Laotian, French, Irish, Scotch or Arabic. She’s rich; she’s poor. She’s young; she’s old. She’s woman; she’s man…. But the reason you watch or listen… is for an emotional connection, which deGannes amply provides.”