About the Mark Drama Team

Andrew Page wrote The Mark Experiment and loves directing the Mark Drama. This blog is where he reflects on past productions and current developments, and writes about significant passages from Mark's Gospel.


 Callom Harkrader works part-time with Andrew Page on the Mark Drama and part of his time as the Head of Outreach at Above Bar Church. 


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What I have learnt

I have learnt lots of things from my involvement with Mark Drama. Here's one.

I realise that although I know about Jesus' character (his integrity, justice, compassion and love) I really don't know about his personality. Did he speak with a loud voice or softly? Did he smile a lot or seldom? Did he speak quickly or slowly? With pauses or without?

Most of us will have answers but these will have more to do with our own personality than with clues in the Gospel accounts. This means two things.

First, for the Mark Drama it means that these incredibly powerful words and acts of Jesus can speak through the personality of each Jesus actor — which increases the impact of the drama.

And secondly, for me as a believer in Jesus I don't concentrate on secondary things like personality. Instead I fix my attention on who Jesus is and on his astonishing love in coming to die for the sins of the world.


The new job starts on Thursday

I got quizzed today by a Mark Drama supporter about what I am going to be doing from September 1st onwards. He seemed kind of excited by the answer.

My first priority will be to train new Mark Drama directors; these need to be people with the right gifts but also the time to direct two or three productions a year. 

The second priority is to support Mark Drama in other countries. Most of all this means helping the directors in that country maintain a high standard, both in faithfulness to the biblical text and in helping the actors to produce the most powerful performance possible.

The third priority is to help when a church or an IFES student movement wants to do Mark Drama but there are no trained directors in their country. How can we get directors trained for them?

The final priority is to produce an evangelistic booklet which can be given away free to people who have just seen a Mark Drama performance.

I think I know how to do numbers 1 and 4, but I am not at all sure what the best way is to do numbers 2 and 3. But I am sure that God knows.

And that is the most exciting thing of all.


An exciting week

On Thursday this week I begin my new job working full-time at the Mark Drama. And that same evening the rehearsals begin for the Hemel Hempstead production. (The other rehearsals are Friday evening and Saturday from 9am till 3.45pm.)

Jacob, who is playing Jesus, has been doing a great job with the learning, and I hope that the other 14 people in the team have too! Please pray for the team and especially for Jacob.

At the same time as I direct I will be training one member of the team — Abi — as a Mark Drama director, so that she can direct a Hull University Christian Union production in November. Please pray for Abi.

But most of all please pray that many guests will come to the performance on Saturday evening and be attracted to the real Jesus. There is nothing more important.


A breathless silence

When I look back on the many productions of the Mark Drama which I have been involved in, I remember two things.

First, I remember how moved I am by the gospel story and the reality of Jesus; I have never been unmoved by a Mark Drama performance.

And secondly, I remember the mistakes — the moments when all 15 members of the acting team hold their collective breath because they know that something has gone wrong. Often, it has to be said, these moments last only a second or two; and often the audience are not even aware of the problem.

I remember such a moment in the very first production, in Innsbruck in Austria in March 2004. In Section Three Jesus is healing a blind man. After putting his hands on the man's eyes Jesus asks him "Do you see anything?" The man replies that he sees people but that they look like trees walking around.

Well, a little earlier in the section Jesus says to a deaf and dumb man "Be opened!" But in the performance our Jesus actor (called Roman), doubtless in the knowledge that he was soon to heal the blind man, asked him a question instead. He said to the deaf and dumb man "Do you hear anything?" The team — and the director (me) — froze: we were all willing the deaf and dumb man not to say something like "I can hear people but they sound like trees walking around."

He didn't, and the audience never noticed the problem.

Incidentally, it is a huge step of faith for any actor to commit to playing the part of Jesus. For Roman back in 2004 it was an extraordinary thing to be the first ever Jesus actor in the Mark Drama. He did a brilliant job, and all of us watching experienced a breathless silence in our hearts as we saw the astonishing love of God in Jesus Christ.

I am praying that that will happen again next Saturday during the Mark Drama performance in Hemel Hempstead.


The jury's still out (part 2)

The next block of eight incidents I found was in Section Five of the Gospel. In chapter 11:27 Jesus goes into the temple for the last time and in chapter 13:1 he leaves the temple for the last time — and there are very clearly eight incidents while he is there.

That meant that I had found a block of eight incidents with an inner logic in Sections One, Two and Five. And that made me curious to see if I could find something similar in Sections Three, Four and Six.

It is up to others to judge whether I have discovered this structure or invented it. In any case it has enabled me to meditate on the Gospel and get to know Jesus better.