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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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.


The jury's still out

I started finding or creating the structure of Mark which is in the book The Mark Experiment while preparing to preach through the gospel at a conference in Austria about 10 years ago. Some of the commentaries suggest six sections, which got me thinking and praying about how to divide up the gospel for the talks I had been invited to give.

In the middle of what some commentaries called Section Two there are four miracles which obviously belong together because they show Jesus' authority in every area of life (4:35 - 5:43): he stills the storm (nature), drives out Legion's demons (evil), heals the sick woman (sickness) and raises Jairus' daughter (death).

Then I remembered that as a student in the early 70s I had decided to learn the whole of Mark by heart (don't be impressed — I gave up after chapter 1). But back then I remember noticing that there were four incidents in chapter 1 where there was no opposition to Jesus (1:21-45), followed by four incidents in chapter 2 with lots of opposition (2:1-28). So there was a block of eight incidents in Section One with a logic to them.

And then it hit me. Before those four miracles in Section Two Jesus told some parables. How many? I turned to chapter 4 and counted: sower, lamp, seed growing secretly, mustard seed (4:1-34). Four! So there was a block of eight in Section One and a block of eight in Section Two.

That was what got me started. I'll tell you what happened next tomorrow.

Oh, and as to whether I have found this structure or created it myself — well, the jury's still out on that one.


It's great to be part of a team

Two important things happened yesterday.

The first is that I wrote my first Mark Drama prayer letter (if you click on the image, you can see the whole thing):

As I start this new job to develop and spread the Mark Drama, I'm very conscious of my weakness and of the size of the task ahead. So I really need prayer. If you would like to receive this prayer letter five times a year, just send us an email ⇒

Just to explain: the Mark Drama Newsletter is more general, while my prayer letter is more specifically about me.

The other thing that happened yesterday was that the Mark Drama Support Group met for the first time. It is brilliant to have a group of people behind me who are committed to the Mark Drama and who love me too! So hopefully they will keep me on the straight and narrow.

Tomorrow I might write something about how I came up with this structure for Mark's Gospel.