DOOR OF NO RETURN
Written & Performed by Nehassaiu deGannes
Dramatic solo-performance. 90 mins (no intermission).
Live musical accompaniment.
Originally created with Musicians, Cathy Clasper-Torch & Nisha Purushotham.
Director: Kelli Wicke Davis; Now directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian with a new score composed by Janice Lowe.
In this one-woman show, Nehassaiu deGannes gives voice to experiences of immigration, displacement, enslavement and resistance, from a brilliant multiplicity of perspectives by embodying more than a dozen characters drawn from history, personal memory and present day interviews. Part docu-drama, part ritual theater––– this play defies the segregation of American histories and invites us
all to stand at the crossroads.
photo credit: donna maria bruton
To bring DOOR OF NO RETURN to your venue/school/college: Please contact us.
Confirmed Presenters (click here)
RI Council on the Humanities, New England Foundation for The Arts, City of Providence
Mayor’s Office of Arts, Culture & Tourism, Brown University, and the National Endowment for
the Arts; Nehassaiu and her team have performed Door of No Return at Syracuse University CFAC, Shakespeare & Co., Guild Hall, Easthampton; College of Staten Island; South Street Seaport Museum, NYC; The Seaport
Salon; Portsmouth Abbey, RI; Wheaton College, MA; Goddard College, VT; The Power of
Words Conference; The GAMM Theatre; and The Historic Y Theatre in Cambridge, MA
Press & Audience **********************************************************************
"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. ... storytelling, extended, animated and multifaceted” Providence Journal
"…breath taking! It was brilliant and the entire school community is grateful…”
Tony Klemmer, Vice-Principal, Portsmouth Abbey
“Door of No Return is daring and subversive!”
Charlotte Meehan, Playwright-in-Residence, Wheaton College
Dear Mr. Estrella,
Artistic Director, The GAMM Theatre
Please convey to Ms. de Gannes my compliments regarding Door of No Return. I was in awe of the acting, emotions, staging, props,
EVERYTHING!!! I attend the Gamm with a group of retired teachers and one of our group had seen Ms. de Gannes in some other production and insisted we see this one. Not everyone came...boy, they have NO IDEA what they missed. There are not enough words for how moving this performance was...nor can we adequately describe to those who did not attend how multi-talented Nehassiau is. Thank you for sponsoring this production AND for all your terrific work with the Gamm's entire season... Sincerely, Patricia Izzi
History Challenges Us: Let Us Remember... So We May Heal
“… this is a play that transcends region. This play should be seen across the country, to reveal a history that has nearly been forgotten. I believe Door of No Return is a healing experience; just as the photograph of a black woman walking back through the door of the Diaspora challenges all the assumptions of forced erasure of culture and memory, the play itself brings people’s experiences to life. This is not a dead history but a continuing dialogue with the past that will shape the present and the future.”
Jonathan Highfield, Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literatures, Rhode Island School of Design
From the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, Door Of No Return received the first ever Script-Development Grant awarded to a project that is not a documentary film. It is provocative and engagingly original theatre rooted in present day interviews, anthropological research, historical artifacts & documents, while drawing upon dreams, images, questions from my own life and a visit to Ghana's Cape Coast Castle. The Humanities Scholars, Dr. Patricia Rubertone, Dr. Tony Bogues, and independent historian & curator, Keith Stokes, have each contributed an accompanying Humanities Essay.