Press Release from Jannali Anglican Church. Originally published in The Leader.
Move over Godspell, make way Jesus Christ Superstar, a new theatre spectacular is in town.
It’s called The Mark Drama and it’s set to wow local audiences next month when The Jannali High School hall is transformed into downtown Nazareth, ancient Jerusalem and the banks of the Sea of Galilee.
It’s an amazing story that played out more than 2,000 years ago but, since then, has inspired countless songs, books, poems, musicals and Hollywood blockbusters.
It’s a story of hope, transformation and salvation. It’s the central story of the Bible.
The Mark Drama is the re-telling of the life of Jesus as told by the gospel writer Mark. Started 16 years ago in Austria, The Mark Drama has been performed in 25 countries to rave reviews and will premiere in the Sutherland Shire on May 7th and 8th.
“It’s brilliant!” says Director Jeanette Waddell. “It’s a raw, amateur, no-frills kind of drama but it really is brilliant. It’s an authentic presentation transporting you in simple ways back to the streets of Nazareth to meet Jesus. You see joy and laughter, anger and hatred, tears and weeping. But most of all, you see Jesus Christ – his generous love of the outcast, his powerful authority over the wind and the waves, his willingness to suffer so that we might be saved.”
Local performer and lawyer Gareth Martin plays the role of Jesus alongside a cast of fourteen.
“It’s a daunting challenge because Jesus is God,” Mr Martin says. “I want to portray Him as accurately as possible and deliver His message as honestly as I can. I’m hoping people will really engage with the story, especially people who aren’t familiar with the gospel of Mark.”
There are several things that make The Mark Drama unique. The performers haven’t learnt lines. Instead they’ve just learnt the order of events of Mark’s gospel and will deliver them ad-lib.
Rehearsals begin two days before the performances and it’s all set in-the-round, without traditional costumes or lighting.
“Theatre-in-the-round organises the audience into concentric circles, with a small area in the centre for the main action,” the Director explains. “It’s quite an immersive experience for the audience as the acting also takes place in the aisles and amidst the crowd.”
Jannali Anglican Church has organised two performances to give the community the opportunity to see and experience the story of Jesus differently.
“The original Jesus is far more impressive and relevant than some of the imitations around today,” Jannali Anglican’s Senior Minister Neil Fitzpatrick says. “The Mark Drama is a creative way of getting behind the religious and cultural impressions of Jesus to the real man who walked and talked as one of us.”
The Mark Drama will be performed at The Jannali High School Hall. Saturday 7th May, 7:30pm. Sunday 8th May, 6pm. Tickets can be purchased at TryBooking.com/190303.
For more info: contact Jannali Anglican church on 9528 9130 or via the church website jannalianglican.org.au. To organise a cast photo: call the producer, Tracey Kirkland 0414 297 541.