Julia Cameron’s desk drawer held a masterpiece for nearly 10 years. Although her play in letters, “Love in the DMZ” was performed for a short run in Los Angeles in 2005 and published in an e-book along with two of her other novellas in 2013, the timing now seems right for her affecting story of a Kansas couple torn apart by the Vietnam War to go viral. The perceptive Vivian Nesbitt, owner of the Sol Acting Academy in Albuquerque, is leading the charge by producing this unbridled delve into love and conflict on the school’s small stage. Nesbitt is determined to make sure Cameron’s genius prose is no longer shut away in darkness.
Walking in to the Academy’s improvised theater space, the preshow soundtrack sets the mood for the era with that unmistakable 1960s music of unrest and protest: Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Marvin Gaye and Edwin Starr. Cameron sets her study in 1968, during the heart of America’s involvement in the fight. Josh Heard plays the part of Husband, an officer who cares deeply for his men while trying to keep a foothold on the fact that he can’t rationalize combating in this foreign jungle realm. Catharine Pilafas tackles the role of Wife, a sympathetic yet fraught mother raising their two boys in an idyllic rural setting.