By Deer Roberts
Who would ever figure that one would find the avant-garde out in the middle of nowhere in northern New Mexico. But that is exactly what the Old School Gallery in El Morro Valley, just outside Ramah, offers in a mix with homespun crafting. Not only are things like spinning, quilting, yoga, tai chi (two different schools), poetry, journal making, knitting and natural fiber dying offered, but a healthy dose of theatre, fine arts, digital mastery and first rate music. I’m sure I am leaving out something, but take a look at their webpage (http://www.elmorro-arts.org/) and download the latest newsletter.
This month a local filmmaker is making a contribution, to boot, with Mark Levine’s (http://www.prettyprettypictures.com/) latest screenplay, Maybe God is Talking to You, Carol.
A cathartic social commentary on our families and society, Levine (locally known as Jerako) manages to zing us where we live. The experience is aesthetic, artful, and has the same reprieve as the confessional. “No one gets out unscathed. No one gets out unhealed.” (A line from the script). Not the reader, not the audience.
The adult-themed play is set in a day of crisis in the life of a late middle-aged suburban housewife. Motifs of death, denial, betrayal, projected judgments, religious elucidation, jarring progeny, marriage, gender, the nature of God and love interlace into a portrait of the interpersonal mess of our lives that underlies our personal stories. We are forced to face and accept the underbelly emotional chaos of our own existences.
The audience has a rare opportunity to take part in a screenwriter’s creative process. The script is being presented in a reader’s theatre format at the Old School Gallery in Ramah on February 10 and 11 at 7 pm. Tickets are $5.00. All participants will have the opportunity to help shape the final draft before the work goes to film. Levine is currently considering reworking the piece to accommodate filming in the local area. What fun!
Levine received his BFA in Theater from Carnegie Mellon University and his MFA in Film at CalArts. His films have screened in the US, Canada, and Europe.
I’ll be sure and do a column one of these months to give you a fuller perspective on this creative bunch, but in the meantime, bookmark the Old School website for a bit of cosmopolitan or down home delight from time to time.
The Old School Gallery is located on NM Hwy 53, just east of the El Morro Monument. When you see the Ancient Way Cafe, El Morro Feed & Seed, and Inscription Rock Trading Post, just look north for the drive before you leave the “congested downtown” area.