Durango PlayFest Announces Three Plays for 2021 Festival

– Third Annual Event to Feature New Works from
Colorado Playwright Lia Romeo and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Lee Blessing –

DURANGO, Colo., June 17 – Durango PlayFest today announced the three plays that will headline its new works festival, as well as other special events planned for the August 5-8, 2021, program. After the cancellation of last year’s festival due to COVID, PlayFest returns to bring top-tier playwrights, directors and actors to Durango to incubate new plays, hold events for the community, and culminate the week with staged readings. The three plays selected for this year’s festival are:

·      Ghost Story (playwright Lia Romeo) – When Lydia meets a guy at a bar and brings him home for what she thinks is a one-night stand, things get complicated. They could hardly be more different: she’s 40, he’s 28; she’s black, he’s white; she’s a New Yorker and he’s from the Midwest. And the fact that he’s actually hoping for something more. Not to mention, her new apartment might very well be haunted. A play about ghosts – both literal and metaphorical – and the ways we try to move forward.

·      Sitting & Talking (playwright Lia Romeo) – Charles and Enid are in their sixties and have never tried online dating – especially not over video chat. But in the midst of a global pandemic, there’s a first time for everything. A love story about a terrible year and the vulnerable, awkward, and sometimes hilarious path to companionship.

·      The Family Line (playwright Lee Blessing) – Finn’s mother has died suddenly from Covid. He’s a mixed-race 15-year-old who must now be transported to his estranged father. No one dares fly, so Finn’s white grandfather Jonah (whom he’s never met) is tasked with making the nonstop, cross-country drive. They spend 24 hours together, each getting to know a perfect stranger at the most imperfect time. Will they find common ground? Will they get there at all? Are they a family in name only, or something more?

Additional PlayFest events include a reading of a local playwright’s work, an opening night dinner/show fundraiser, and talkbacks where the community can hear from playwrights, directors and actors. For the first time, all events and readings will be held outdoors under a tent to meet COVID guidelines.

Fans of Durango PlayFest can expect to see familiar faces. Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years,” “Lombardi”) and Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me!,” “Hot in Cleveland”), who helped conceive of PlayFest, will be in attendance. During lockdown, Durango PlayFest aired a video screening of Romeo’s Sitting & Talking, and will now host the playwright as she adapts that work for the stage, and will also feature her latest piece, Ghost Story. Blessing, who workshopped plays at the two previous PlayFests, brings his just-completed work The Family Line for its debut read. 

Instead of viewing COVID restrictions as a problem, we saw them as an opportunity to do a deep-dive with Lia Romeo, a very talented young playwright, and to debut Lee Blessing’s latest work,” said artistic director Felicia Lansbury Meyer. “Two of our plays – Sitting & Talking and The Family Line – were written during COVID and showcase how writers are using art to help us process changes in circumstances and relationships brought on by the pandemic.”

The three signature play readings will feature nationally recognized actors, while the local play reading will spotlight community members and students from Fort Lewis College. Casting will be completed within the next month. Actors who previously performed at PlayFest include Malick, Lauria, Emily Swallow (“Supernatural,” “The Mandolorian”), Mike Farrell (“M*A*S*H”), and Brett Dalton (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”). Tickets will be available in early July at www.durangoplayfest.org.