Monday, April 18, 2011

Mark's Gospel Live!

On Friday our church hosted a performance of Marks' Gospel Live! by Rev. Joseph Morris. From the site:
Mark's Gospel LIVE is a solo performance, and has enjoyed over 200 performances throughout the US, UK, and Canada. All of St. Mark's characters are portrayed as the story is narrated right from the Biblical text. There are no other actors. It is not a reading or a talk. It is the actual words of the Gospel memorized and performed like story telling.
The performance takes about two hours, with a fifteen minute intermission between the two halves. Act I consists of the Gospel from the beginning up through the Transfiguration and Act II continues through the end of the Gospel. For the most part, the words spoken are the actual words of the Gospel, with a few asides to explain terms or scenes and a couple of inclusive language changes thrown in. Some parts of it are sung.

Rev. Morris told us it took him about four months to memorize the 15,000 words of the Gospel of Mark, which is the shortest, and also his favorite Gospel. The props he uses are minimal. A cloth becomes waves, a sail, a veil, a shawl, a burial shroud, etc. He is quite a skilled actor, playing multiple parts. His representation of the demoniac scared the heck out of most of the audience, and he had us all laughing with a description of the Pharisees.

There were several kids in the audience who seemed to enjoy it, although I think it was a bit dry and long for most kids to sit through. Ultimately, this is a one-man play in two acts. If you are in the frame of mind to enjoy that, the performance is wonderful. Several people came with expectations of something different (I'm not sure what, since the show was pretty accurately described) and said they thought it was too dramatic. For my part I enjoyed it, and would recommend it. My only complaint was that we sat somewhat off to the side, and since he is frequently running up and down the center aisle I spent most of the two hours craning my neck to the side.


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