Writer in Residence – William Johnson

Willie Johnson is a writer and teacher who’s incredibly grateful to have time at Nes to work on a number of projects. Most urgently, he’s revising “Hephaestus”, a play that explores questions of disability and sexuality, the limitations of the body, and the desire to transcend them. The play uses the character of Hephaestus — the crippled blacksmith god of classical mythology — to interrogate our notions of disability and work, and what they say about our relationships with our own bodies. Drawing on a variety of classical texts and employing elements of dance and music, this full-length play probes the classics to illuminate contemporary attitudes about gender, race, and beauty. The photos here are from its first staged reading, at New York’s Drawing Center, in 2017. “Hephaestus” will have its next staged reading at LPAC in August, followed by a full production in 2020 at New York’s Rough Draft Festival. https://lpac.nyc/new-events/hephaestus