Monday, June 9, 2014

Solo Production of Mark's Gospel Runs Through This Weekend

 George Drance. Photo courtesy of Magis Theatre Company

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 & Second Avenue) in Manhattan through Sunday, June 15. Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday 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 examines the message of commitment and love through the eyes of a street artist, using drawings to illustrate and illuminate the text.

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 company has produced a variety of actor driven, physically based theatre productions that explore the human condition. 

Drance, artist-in-residence at Fordham University, has performed and directed in more than 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, Cornell and Marquette University.

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  in New York City

Perhaps best known for her Broadway and international show Runaways, Swados has composed, written, and directed issue-oriented theater for more than 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.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

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All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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