A modern classroom with fluorescent lights in Spring Hill seems an unlikely portal to the Holy Land. But The Mark Drama, presented by Village Church, brings to life the story of Jesus Christ, according to gospel of Mark. And it is a surprisingly good time.
As with all Mark Drama productions, costumes, props and set are not used. This allows the story and its message to shine through. Centre stage is a small circle of carpet amidst an arrangement of comfy chairs. An ensemble of fifteen untrained actors, directed by Pria Wahyudi and Malcolm Barker, enter and exit via aisles in between the chairs. The brisk pace and slick movement between scenes is one of the crowning achievements of this production.
The casting is well-done, with actors of different ages and genders from all four corners of the globe. Each cast member (apart from Jesus and two pharisees) portrays multiple characters. The actor playing Jesus is cool and deadpan (most of the time!), a perfect counterfoil to the 4 to 6 disciples, who are like a clown chorus, with Simon as ringleader. The disciple’s honest, seemingly unscripted reactions in scenes such as the loaves and fishes provide some unexpected giggles. And their humanity as they shift from sensible obedience to petty bickering about who is ‘the best’ adds a light touch.
Very effective use is made darkness and silence to convey the passing of time from Jesus’ crucifixion to his resurrection.
This reviewer would have liked the performers to re-appear after the show ended to give them a hearty round of applause.
If you go and see this play, you are not going to be bashed over the head with a bible. You can sit and have a good time as the story unfolds.
Review by Marissa Ker of performance on Sunday 27 May 2018 at 1:30pm.