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Gitana Productions’ ‘Between Worlds’ aims to help the audience find shared history

Richard Cohen, Vivian Anderson Watt and Cecilia Nadal discuss "Between Worlds" with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Richard Cohen, Vivian Anderson Watt and Cecilia Nadal discuss "Between Worlds" with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh.

Later this week, Gitana Productions will debut a production that utilizes acting, poetry, music and dance to get across a point that we share common history and similarities between people. The production is called “Between Worlds: An American Journey,” and opens tomorrow night.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by three people involved with “Between Worlds.”

Gitana Productions is an arts non-profit which provides healing through music, dance and drama in St. Louis. “Between Worlds,” uses contemporary dance to explore how cultures intersect in the past, present and future.

“We’re at a time we’re being challenged to stand up for democracy,” Nadal said. “The basic underlying principle to this play is that the only way we can challenge threats to democracy is that we have to accelerate our relationships to each other across culture. If we are divided, we don’t have a way to be ‘We the People,’ a basic tenet of democracy.”

Nadal said that the play takes characters from history and places them in conversation with present-day figures.

“Remembering is important to relationships,” Nadal said.

The play includes 14 different characters on the stage. Vivian Anderson Watt, the choreographer and director of “Between Worlds,” said that in addition to the heavy subject matter, the play includes music and dance.

Richard Cohen, who plays the role of Michael Dalton, came back to acting for this play after 39 years away from it. His character in the play spent over 20 years connecting black and white Catholics. He said that role called to him.

“It certainly it is not a bit of fluff,” Cohen said.  “There’s humor but it is a serious play about a serious subject.”

Some of the production is extemporaneous. Each production will be a little bit different, including audience engagement in the production.

“It falls in the category of surreal,” Nadal said. “We are combining past and present and dance and other elements. I don’t want people to go into a set script of democracy, I wanted it to be layered and layered between different cultures. We’ve got that and I think it will allow people to connect with the theme in every play.”

There will be a total of five performances of the play, but after it closes at the Grandel Theatre this week it will move on to a series of community performances across the city.

“The idea of diversity and reaching across cultures should go everywhere,” Nadal said. “It should not only be in Grand Center; it should be everywhere.”  

Related Event

What: Gitana Productions Presents "Between Worlds: An American Journey"
When: June 8-10 at 7:30 p.m.; June 11 at 3 p.m.
Where: Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square, St. Louis, MO 63108
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.
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