Today, April 25, is the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four gospels and is considered to be the original gospel that lays the groundwork for the others. This was a gospel that was spoken before it was read. The orators telling the story were trying to share the fundaments of Christianity and make it engaging to those who listened.
Jesuit actor and theater artist Fr. George Drance is delving back into the roots of this gospel with his one man play entitled *mark.
“I think that it’s thrilling to be involved in a tradition that is thousands of years old,” explained the Jesuit actor. “We experience the tradition in liturgy but this is older than liturgy. It’s been a tradition since the beginning of the church.” Through the medium of the theater, Fr. Drance aims to present the gospel as something relevant and current.
Fr. Drance wants his audience to walk away reflecting on the gospel. “Most plays around today that focus on making people feel something, only do so for the duration of the play – the feeling disappears as they leave the theater,” he observed. “The gospel is bigger than that. It’s supposed to work inside them. The gospel is not about feeling at all but experiencing.”
He also approaches his audience the same way early Christians may have proclaimed the gospel to whomever might want to hear it. “This is an opportunity to bring different communities together – the arts community and the community of faith,” said Drance. The venue, La MaMa, is the oldest experimental theater company in the country and the performance space for *mark is the same one where the play Godspell premiered.
The run of *mark will be from May 29 through June 15. General admission tickets are $18 and $13 for students and seniors. Click here to buy tickets.