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Diné Storyteller Blossom Johnson Named Durango PlayFest 2022 Community Playwright

PlayFest, held August 4-7, brings well-known and emerging playwrights, directors and actors to Durango to incubate new plays and hold events for the community.

Diné Storyteller Blossom Johnson Named Durango PlayFest 2022 Community Playwright

Durango PlayFest today announced that Diné storyteller Blossom Johnson has been named the festival's 2022 Community Playwright. Her play "monster SLAYer" will be workshopped with a Diné director and local Indigenous actors during the week of the festival and will be featured in a free, public reading on August 6.

PlayFest, held August 4-7, brings well-known and emerging playwrights, directors and actors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold events for the community, and culminate the week with staged readings for local audiences.

"monster SLAYer" tells the story of a family awaiting the birth of twins, while they mourn a missing daughter and sister. Pregnant Isabella, an author, and her brother Jaiden, an artist, conjure sacred beings Spider Woman and Horned Toad as they create a superhero comic to process their grief. The play will be directed by Kim Gleason, a Diné producer, actor and director for stage and film from Albuquerque, NM.

"Blossom brings a unique voice to playwriting, illustrating how cultures can collide within the same family," says Felicia Lansbury Meyer, PlayFest artistic director. "She uses her own experiences and upbringing to tell stories that blend hard truths with honesty and humor."

Johnson is a Diné storyteller, playwright, teaching artist and screenwriter. She is from the Yé'ii Dine'é Táchii'nii (Giant People) clan, and her maternal grandfather is from the Deeshchíí'nii (Start of the Red Streak People) clan. She was awarded a 2021-2022 residency with Willowtail Springs/Durango PlayFest, where she wrote "monster SLAYer." She received the 2022 First Peoples Fund Cultural Capital Fellowship, a commission from La Lengua/AlterTheater Ensemble's Decolonization Stories 2022, and a 2022-2023 Jerome Fellowship from The Playwrights' Center. Johnson holds an MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University and a BA in Theatre from Arizona State University. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA).

Durango PlayFest launched the Community Playwright Initiative as part of its 2021 festival to develop local talent, both on and off the stage. Four Corners residents are invited to submit works, which are reviewed by a selection committee. Last year's community play, "Golden Gate" by Durango resident Lindsey Kirchoff, was selected for the Playwrights' Center of San Francisco 2022 Spring Reading series.

Tickets for the full festival are now available at durangoconcerts.com. For more information and to view the 2022 schedule, visit www.durangoplayfest.org.

ABOUT DURANGO PLAYFEST

Launched in 2018, Durango PlayFest is a week-long play development festival that brings well-known stage and television actors, veteran and emerging playwrights, and directors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold free workshops for the community, and engage audiences with staged readings. PlayFest is the only nonprofit in the Four Corners dedicated to promoting the craft of playwriting.




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