In the first episode of The Love That Would Not Die, the apocalyptic puppet musical written and directed by Devon Hawkes Ludlow, lovelorn alcoholic Stan and a sock puppet sidekick named Dog seek a cure for the plague that is turning people into mindless rock star zombies. They’re joined by the time-traveling Kid, who ventures through the multiverse in a flying Airstream trailer. Things get complicated when their archnemesis, Steve, a Big Pharma entrepreneur whose company invented the drug that caused the plague, transforms into the undead rocker Neon Monster. To make matters worse, Stan’s true love, Lydia, succumbs to the plague.
Two more episodes — Synthesize Me and Mary K Pop — follow, and things get even crazier. Stan transforms into a superhuman punk rocker when he attempts to synthesize a cure for the zombie rock star plague, Lydia becomes the stalker from Hell, the ragtag team of adventurers discover an alternate dimension ruled by the heartless fashion mogul Banana Winters, and a bevy of drag queen lab rabbits plot a rebellion against Gomora, Winters’ evil cosmetics company.
Mary K Pop premieres at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (418 Montezuma Ave.), at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. If you’re not caught up on the story, not to worry: the first two episodes are also part of the night’s events. Subsequent screenings of Mary K Pop continue through Dec. 8.
The Love That Would Not Die was produced by The Human Beast Box, a loose-knit puppet collaborative based in Santa Fe. Ludlow, a puppeteer and composer, is the founder. “We began this project about six years ago,” says production designer Brandee Caoba. “We lived in a solar house, off the grid, and we shot the film with our iPhones and with clip lamps.” As time went on, they gathered more resources, including actual film production equipment. “The entire series has been built off of the generosity of people in the community.”
Mary K Pop marks the end of this particular adventure series, but it may not be the last you’ll see of Stan and the gang. “Our vision has always been to take the main character through various futuristic apocalypses,” Caoba says. “We have some ideas about the next apocalyptic future happening underwater.”
The screening of the three films includes a Q&A with Ludlow, Caoba, and other members of the creative team. Puppets, photos, and art from the series will be on display, and attendees can listen to recordings of the production’s original music (some of which may be performed live).
Tickets are $15 ($10 for subsequent screenings); 505-466-5528, jeancocteaucinema.com. — Michael Abatemarco