The Mark Drama in your CU

Please try and contact the Mark Drama staff three months before when you want to perform! This is to try and ensure a director is available and you have enough time to organize everything!

A. Two important roles

There are two important roles which need to be filled from the outset. The producer is responsible for organization, publicity and for leading the team of actors. The director liaises with the producer and is responsible for casting; he also directs the rehearsals. The producer must be part of the CU and may or may not be a member of the acting team; the director will be invited in from outside.

B. There is no script

There is no script for the Mark Drama. During the rehearsals (see note F below) the director and the team work with open Bibles and learn the drama through directed improvisation.

C. The Information Session

At least 2 months before the performance(s) there should be an Information Session, led by the director. This is so that people can decide if they want to join the acting team: we cannot expect anyone to volunteer to join the team until they have experienced an Information Session. A part of this evening consists of some of those present improvising and rehearsing a couple of incidents from the Gospel. In this way they can see how the rehearsals will work.

Those who then decide to join the team must have the following qualities:

  • enthusiasm for drama (whether or not they have experience)
  • a voice which is loud enough for the room in which the performance(s) will take place
  • a willingness to learn the order of the events in Mark's Gospel by heart. (Everyone will need a copy of The Mark Experiment in order to do this.)

D. Finding a team

After this Information Session everyone has a few days to decide if they want to join the team. The drama can go ahead, provided there are at least 8 men and 7 women on the team and that one of the men is suitable, willing and able to play the part of Jesus. (The director needs to be involved in this decision.)

A timetable is worked out, so that the whole team knows which section of Mark is being learnt when. Every two weeks or so there is a team meeting for all who can make it so that the team members can test each other, get to know each other, and pray for the whole project.

E. Between the Information Session and the first rehearsal

During these 6 weeks of learning the actor playing Jesus has more to do. Apart from learning the order of the events he needs to familiarize himself with everything that Jesus says in the Gospel. But there is no script to learn.

The director works with the Jesus actor (this can be done by e-mail) and provides him with notes to help. Instead of learning speeches off by heart, there is a method of internalizing the content of Jesus' words so that the actor is able to express the meaning in a natural way.

During most of the 6 weeks of learning the other team members do not know which roles they will be playing. The director will make his final decision after talking to the producer and to the actor playing Jesus - and after praying a lot! The final casting will be announced a couple of weeks before the first rehearsal (2 Pharisees, 4 disciples - and 8 actors each playing a number of different roles).

F. Rehearsals and performances

Here is the usual schedule for a CU Mark Drama production:

  • First Rehearsal: Friday (7.30pm till 10pm)
  • Second Rehearsal: Saturday (9am till 8pm, with breaks!)
  • Dress Rehearsal: Sunday (2pm till 4pm)
  • First Performance: Monday 7.30pm
  • Second Performance: Tuesday 7.30pm

The performances usually last between 80 and 90 minutes, without an interval.

Summary

Here are the basic steps towards putting on a Mark Drama production:

  1. We'll help you find a trained Mark Drama director near you. Just send us an email ⇒
  2. Arrange a date with the director for an Information Session, at least 6 weeks before your hoped-for performance dates. (Important: please do not look for volunteers to join your team before the information evening.)
  3. If, after the Information Evening, you have a team of 15 actors (8 men, 7 women), then the team can start learning, and your CU's production of The Mark Drama will take place in 6-8 weeks' time.
  4. Book the necessary rooms for the rehearsals and the performances, remembering that The Mark Drama is theatre-in-the-round.