By Holli Harms

The Gospel According to Mark is the disciple Mark’s telling of the story of Jesus the savior and healer. It starts when Jesus is thirty years of age and assembles his disciples, and ends when he is thirty-three, crucified, and resurrected.

It is an extraordinary tale of faith and trust and healing and love. Jesus and his twelve disciples traveled by foot spreading the word of God to all, using the power of faith to heal the blind, and those suffering from epilepsy, awaken the dead, cure hate, and bring solace and love to the faithless. There is an urgency to Mark’s telling of the story as if he will be taken away at any moment and the story will not be told.

*mark, presented by the Magis Theatre Company, created and performed by George Drance, is a secret, underground, back alley assembly thrown together meeting, incorporating music and dance, graffiti art, and singing. It is a joyful, and at times frightening retelling of a life lived and condemned so as to save the souls of the world.

The music, created and composed by the late Elizabeth Swados, switches throughout from haunting, to peaceful, to beautiful, to dramatic, and back around again. Swados worked with Drance on the original production at LaMama ETC in 2014.

George Drance, a Jesuit priest and actor, is stunning in the role. He is a wonderful creator of unlimited energy and trusts in his telling of this remarkable story. You are instantly mesmerized by him and his delivery.

The story led me to Google more about Jesus and the one who gave him over to those who wished to stop him with nothing but a simple kiss on the cheek. I was drawn to investigate Judas’ journey and discovered two completely different endings to his betrayal.

The one truth is that it was always a necessary part of the story of Jesus. Without the betrayal, there would have been no crucifixion or resurrection, and thus, no redemption for humanity.

The production at Salvation Army’s 315 Theater, directed by Jackie Lucid, is absorbing and passionate. Drance, an athletic compelling performer, eats the stage up with his energy.

*mark will be performed at Theatre 315 located at 315 W. 47th St. New York, NY.

Show dates: Wednesdays, April 12 and 19 at 7PM; Thursdays, April 6, 13 and 20 at 7pm; Friday April 7, 14, and 21 at 8PM; Saturday April 8, 15 and 22 at 2PM.

Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

Running Time: One hour and 40 minutes with no intermission