By Amy Cheng, Member of Grace Point Presbyterian, Lidcombe
“No acting experience required. Looking for people who love Jesus.” Those were the requirements to join the Mark Drama production at my church in Lidcombe.
I first heard about the Mark Drama from a missionary who had returned from the mission field. Sharing about her time on mission to a group of uni students at their annual conference, she talked about the production. As she described it, I grew more and more fascinated by the unusual aspects of it – no script, central staging, and actors interacting with the audience. I wanted to see it for myself, however, the Mark Drama had not made its way to Australia yet.
In 2015, I got my first chance to see it at Moore College, and was gripped and moved by it. A year later, I saw another production by Credo, which some of my friends acted in. I vowed to take part in it if it came to my church. I finally got that chance in 2018. There was no script to learn but all actors of the cast had to familiarise themselves with Andrew Page’s The Mark Experiment book. It was divided into six sections, with each section representing an aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry. The cast was given six weeks to read through, learn and memorise the sections. Memorising the sections was often a laborious process, with me constantly falling behind and needing to memorise two sections in one week.
Before I knew it, the week of rehearsals had arrived. We were given our roles just days prior to the first rehearsal ; I was cast as one of the plus cast. With just two days until production, no scripts, and a cast full of inexperienced actors, it seemed like an impossible task.
However, it all came together beautifully during rehearsals, and I sensed God at work helping to bring it all together. The directors also provided invaluable assistance in teaching us how to deliver our lines. The most valuable thing they taught us, however, was to pray for each other during the performance, particularly for the actor playing Jesus.
Soon, it was the night of the first performance. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. As the audience trickled in, I grew more and more petrified. What if I forget my lines? What if I can’t act convincingly? However, I reminded myself that this was not a performance to bring glory to myself but to God.
As a member of the plus cast, I had several roles to play. My favourite was the widower who offered up her two measly coins during offertory time. She gave all she had because she recognised the value of Jesus.
Acting in the Mark Drama was an unforgettable experience. Right from the memorisation process, rehearsals and through to performance day, I was able to see Jesus’s life and ministry in a different way. By putting myself in the shoes of those who were healed by Him, listened to His teachings, and witnessed His crucifixion, I marvelled at the great man that He is – compassionate, merciful, gracious, loving and infinitely wise.