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Creative pride: UNM grad artistic director for premiere of ‘1n2ian (Indian)’

Greg Moss is always up for a challenge.

From left, Kim Gleason, Jay B. Muskett, and Sheldon Blackhorse are part of the world premiere of “1n2ian” at Rodey Theatre. (Courtesy of Pat Berrett)

That’s why he jumped at the chance to be artistic director in staging the world premiere of “1n2ian (Indian)” at Rodey Theatre this weekend.

“There is a source of pride bringing something to life on stage for the first time,” he says. “The challenge is that everyone is educating themselves when it comes to the production.”

The piece of work is presented by the University of New Mexico’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

It is written by Jay B. Muskett, a third-year student in the MFA Dramatic Writing Program. It is directed by Gleason Bauer.

Muskett is a Navajo writer, director and occasional thespian from Nakaibitoi N.M., on the Navajo Nation. He is a graduate of Pima Community College in Tucson and the University of New Mexico, having earned two bachelor’s degrees, in media arts and theater.

The production is entering the final week before the premiere this weekend.

“My job is mostly to make sure everyone is communicating,” Moss says. “My MO as an artistic director is to let the artists work things out. I let them negotiate.”

“1n2ian” is the story of two generations of Native women who live in a town near the reservation.

Shell, survivor of an assault by her brother, has a daughter, Dezba, whom she’s kept hidden from her father and raised as her niece.

When a series of disappearances of Native women shakes her indigenous community, Dezba leaves the reservation and goes to the city with her stepsister, Georgina. She is discovered there by her father, Wolfred, and his new friend, Dana, a young, tenacious indigenous chef.

Dana and Dezba begin a tumultuous romance, starting a chain of events leading Dezba to confront the truth of her birth.

The cast of “1n2ian” includes Clara Nanontabah as Shell, Sheldon Blackhorse as Dana, Z Echo Eskeets as Georgina, Dawn Ferguson as Mother/First Woman, Kim Gleason as Dezba, JT Mitchell as Donnie, Stanley Shunkamolah as Wolfred, and Vanessa Whitehorse as Requiem/Ensemble.

Scenic design is by Christopher Rodriguez, Jr., lighting design is by Katie Gallegos, and costume design is by Tori Whisler. Shannon Parrales is the choreographer, Rachel Nelson-Schille is the stage manager.

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