Gitana Productions' Executive Director Cecilia Nadal is the product of a Puerto Rican father and an African American mother. She spent her early years in the Latino culture Puerto Rico and Panama before the family settled in her mother's hometown of St. Louis. So she understands the challenges for a person trying to bridge two cultures.
"This issue of living in two identities in the present is something that you have to negotiate," Nadal says. "In St. Louis, we are just beginning to develop an appreciation for multi-ethnicity. So I felt that the conversation needed to continue and that we should present exactly what that challenge is you actively share in two cultures. It is true that we all have multiple identities. But it's not true that all of us are living in the present with those identities and that's what makes the difference."
To help explore the challenges of mixed identity, Nadal commissioned local playwright Mariah Richardson to create a play focusing on the melding of African American and Latino identities. The result is SOY YO! (I AM ME!) AN AFRO-LATINA SUITE. Directed by Vivian Watt, the work uses drama, music and dance to follow one family's struggles over the span from the 1700's to 2013.
Nadal hopes that audiences will learn a valuable lesson from SOY YO! "The lesson is to appreciate the diversity we have within and to allow that to be the filter outward to the rest of the world."
SOY YO! (I AM ME!) AN AFRO-LATINA SUITE runs from June 28-July 14 at the Kranzberg Arts Center located at 501 N. Grand Blvd.
Cecilia Nadal, Vivian Watt and Chiffontae Ross who plays the role of Marina in SOY YO! were Steve Potter's guests on Cityscape to discuss the play and the issues it explores.
Gitana Productions Presents SOY YO! (I AM ME!) AN AFRO-LATINA SUITE
June 28-July 14, 2013 Fridays and Saturdays,7:30 p.m. Sundays, 3:00 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd. at Olive (314) 721-6556