*MARK Set for La Mama's First Floor Theatre, 5/29-6/15
La Mama E.T.C., in association with the Magis Theatre Company's Logos Project, presents *mark, performed by George Drance, directed by Luann Jennings, with original music composed by internationally acclaimed, award winning composer Elizabeth Swados.
*mark will be presented at La Mama's First Floor Theatre, 74A East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave),in Manhattan from Thursday, May 29 - Sunday, June 15. Performances are Thurs, Fri, Sat at 7:30 PM and Sun at 2:30 PM. The Gospel of Mark, the oldest of the four gospels, had an early tradition of being performed aloud from start to finish. Written during Nero's brutal persecution of the followers of "the Way", the Gospel of Mark was recited in its entirety, giving courage to this community of quiet rebels whose radical compassion threatened the Empire's status quo. Today it is rare for an audience to hear this gospel performed in its totality, or to experience it with the immediacy of that dangerous period of oppression. In his contemporary solo performance, Magis Theatre Company's Artistic Director, George Drance, reclaims the urgency of the words as when they were first spoken. Drance examines the message of commitment and love through the eyes of a street artist, using drawings to illustrate and illuminate the text.
His Holiness Pope Francis has written: "Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today's world."
Magis Theatre Company, founded in 2003, is an ensemble of actors and teaching artists, who came together out of desire: desire to teach, desire to train, and desire to act. The New York Times declares, "Magis Theatre Company is daring to be different." The company has produced a variety of actor driven, physically based theatre productions that explore the human condition. Past productions include: THE WINTER'S TALE, part of the "Play Outside!" Festival sponsored by the Shakespeare Project; SHAKUNTALA AND THE RING OF RECOGNITION, which won praise from both American and Indian press for its understanding of the original work and its accessibility to a contemporary audience; THE GREAT DIVORCE, the company's adaptation of C.S. Lewis's fantastical spiritual tale, which the New York Times described as, "... Thought provoking... long on theatrical skill and remarkably short on preachiness." Magis Theatre Company is excited to present the premier of *mark as the inaugural production of the company's newly established Logos Project, specifically dedicated to producing theatre that explores themes of spirituality across cultures.
Actor George Drance, Artist-in-residence at Fordham University, has performed and directed in over twenty countries on five continents. He has served as artistic director of Theatre YETU in Kenya and artistic associate for Teatro la Fragua in Honduras. Drance has been a guest artist and lecturer at Columbia University, Cornell University, Marquette University, Marymount Manhattan College, Hebrew Union College, and Boston College. "Drance is one hell of an actor. Handsome, charismatic, and committed. It's clear he means the words." Kerri Allen, Backstage. "Drance oozes credibility ... making his text seem natural and believable." Shari Perkins, theatreonline.com. "George Drance is a standout", Anita Gates, The New York Times.
Director Luann Jennings worked for a dozen years as a director, artistic director and arts educator in Atlanta. She is the founder and director of CAELA, a service organization for arts leaders of faith; and she founded and ran the arts ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (NYC).
Perhaps best known for her Broadway and international smash hit Runaways, Elizabeth Swados has composed, written, and directed issue oriented theatre for over 30 years. Some of her works include the Obie Award winning Trilogy, at La Mama, Alice at the Palace, with Meryl Streep at the New York Shakespeare Theater Festival and Groundhog, which was optioned by Milos Forman for a film. Awards include: Five Tony nominations, three Obie Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Ford Grant, the Helen Hayes Award, a Lila Acheson Wallace Grant, PEN, and others.
Ellen Stewart founded La MaMa in 1961 in a tiny basement on Manhattan's Lower East Side. She dedicated it to the playwright, and all aspects of the theater. Today, La MaMa is a world renowned cultural institution recognized as the seed bed of new work by artists of all nations and cultures.
*mark will be performed at La Mama's First Floor Theatre, 74A East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave), New York, NY. Performance dates: May 29 to June 15, Thurs. Fri. Sat. at 7:30, Sun at 2:30