Theater

Drama 'round the campfire

There's some kind of theater going on in the sagebrush near Cerro

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 6/26/19

There are few outdoor performance venues in the world as dramatic as the Wild Rivers Amphitheater at 1120 Cerro Road near Cerro. Taking advantage of this epic setting, the Q-town …

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Theater

Drama 'round the campfire

There's some kind of theater going on in the sagebrush near Cerro

Posted

There are few outdoor performance venues in the world as dramatic as the Wild Rivers Amphitheater at 1120 Cerro Road near Cerro.

Taking advantage of this epic setting, the Q-town Community Theatre will take the stage under the stars in a much anticipated campfire event, "Be Careful What You Wish For." The performance, planned Friday and Saturday (June 28-29) at 7:30 p.m., is part of a series complete with sweet s'mores around a crackling fire and a breathtaking expanse of sage, piñon, juniper and the Sangre de Cristos as a backdrop.

There is no charge to attend this summer theater in the wild.

Tim Long, the park ranger for Wild Rivers, said the idea to start the campfire events came about in the early 1990s when they used to have Campfire Talks. He recalled there was "an educational lecture and slideshow on golden eagles and some research taking place in the recreation area."

The inspiration to revive the tradition, according to Long, "was a beloved park ranger named Aaron Rael at Wild Rivers who passed away in 2012. He was a very good friend and loved by many. He wanted to renovate the Wild Rivers Amphitheater and restart the campfire talks. I was more than happy to pick up the mantle and help see through his wishes.

"Our campfire talks and lecture series bring educational and interpretive aspects to visitor's experience at the Río Grande del Norte National Monument," Long said. "This year, our lectures focus on the history of Questa, and ongoing research within the monument."

Long continued, "We hope that people will attend the exciting events happening at Wild Rivers this season. Come early. Bring a picnic. Go for a hike. Or just plan to take in some natural wonders at your public lands."

Long has been working for the BLM at Wild Rivers as a seasonal park ranger since 2016. He and his wife, Connie, have lived in El Rito, north of Questa, since 1974. He said before "working here, we came to Wild Rivers to camp, backpack, fish, picnic and celebrate our kids' birthdays. Wild Rivers has always been a part of our family life."

Kimber MacDonald, the director for Q-town Drama for the past 18 years, said the play, penned by Patrick Rainville Dorn, will be performed by actors who just completed grades three to seven. Some students are returning to continue the summer tradition of "Mythology and Marshmallows" started in 2018.

The crew for the play, which retells classic folk and fairy tales, are high school actors from Q-town Drama. They serve as technical support for and mentors to the younger participants. MacDonald said, "Many of our high school actors have been acting with our program since third grade. They are in charge of roasting the marshmallows and look forward to presenting their own 'Shakespeare and S'mores' production later this season."

MacDonald said the Q-town Drama began several years ago as a school-based after-school program in the Questa Schools, but left the schools last year to expand its appeal for actors and audiences. Student actors adopted the name Q-town Drama, using a nickname for Questa. The energetic group has performed two to three times a year for the past several years. She said, "There are actors from all over Northern Taos County, including Costilla, Cerro, Amalia, El Rito, Red River and Questa."

MacDonald and her husband, Bill, are passionate about the Wild Rivers area. Her family has lived one-half mile away from the monument since 1999.

"We have been devoted advocates and participants at the Wild Rivers since then," she said. "My in-laws are volunteers at the monument, and my husband and I are race directors for the Pick Your Poison Race at the monument which is the only trail race into the gorge. The race benefits Q-town Drama, and the student actors make up most volunteers for the race. We bike, hike, run and camp at Wild Rivers and feel like it is a national treasure."

MacDonald expressed, "We are excited to perform in this beautiful little-known venue, and to exhibit the talent and the spark of young people living in the communities that surround the Wild Rivers."

Admission is free, donations appreciated.

For more information, contact Tim Long at (575) 586-1150.

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