In the News (Again)

Great to read this review in The Scottish Catholic Herald today. Enjoy!

See our solo word-for-word dramatisation of Mark’s Gospel (1hr) SSC 17:30 13-17 Aug:

#edfringe #fringe #fringecast #MakeYourFringe #scottishstorytellingcentre #wildfires #storyteller #onemanperformance #drama #markEd2019 #marksgospel #theatre #education #faith #love #god #believe #pray #actor #performingarts #theatre #acting #performance #actor #performer #theatre #storytelling #story

In The News

Great to read this today in the Church of England Newspaper😀:

For more details of I AM MARK our daring solo word-for-word dramatisation of Mark’s Gospel (1hr) SSC 17:30 13-17 Aug go to:

#edfringe #fringe #fringecast #MakeYourFringe #scottishstorytellingcentre #wildfires #storyteller #onemanperformance #drama #markEd2019 #marksgospel #theatre #education #faith #love #god #believe #pray #actor #performingarts #theatre #acting #performance #actor #performer #theatre #storytelling #story

?Question MARK #1

1. Why did you call your play I AM MARK?

Three reasons: First, because Mark is the narrator of this gospel and his story is based on an eyewitness account of real events. Second, because, in an oral culture, it’s pretty likely that Mark and his friends went around performing this story in exactly the way that I do. And third, because – believe it or not – my closest friends say I remind them of the author of my script! (Something about being a weird mixture of passionate, thoughtful, emotional and mystical…Can’t see it myself. 😉)

Incidentally, these days, if I had a pound for every time people call me ‘Mark’, I’d be a rich man! Honest to goodness, even some of my mates are getting confused! (The name’s STEF btw😂)

Hope you get to see our daring solo word-for-word dramatisation of Mark’s Gospel – soon to feature @ The Edinburgh Festival @ The Scottish Storytelling Centre (1 hr) 17:30 13th – 17th Aug. Tickets and Further Info here:

#edfringe #fringe #fringecast #MakeYourFringe #scottishstorytellingcentre #wildfires #storyteller #onemanperformance #drama #markEd2019 #marksgospel #theatre #education #faith #love #god #believe #pray #actor #performingarts #theatre #acting #performance #actor #performer #theatre #storytelling #story

7 Tips to Keep Yourself Motivated

GETTING TO PERFORM at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is not a synch. In fact it’s the most demanding thing I’ve ever done, as well as bring the most exciting. Every day I’m faced with a new challenge, something I’ve never had to do before – especially when it comes to publicity and marketing on a tight deadline. It’s so important to keep myself motivated and not give way to panic. But how? This is what works for me (in my best moments):

1. Indulge in plenty of prayer, especially of the listening kind. (Don’t know how to do that? Take a passage of Scripture and let it speak to you. Dwell on that word or phrase that particularly moves you and tentatively relate it to what you’re currently going through. Could God be trying to reassure or challenge you through it?) You can’t do it yourself and it’s easy to run out of steam without the Teacher’s encouragement.

2. Try not to get phased by what your competitors are doing. Or by the tight deadlines you’re supposed to meet. Just stay close to God and he will tell you what to do when.

3. In the same way do everything at a deliberate pace. Learn to catch the unforced rhythms of grace….Not always easy, but always worth the effort.

4. Refuse to be discouraged or panicked. As Jesus once said to his disciples, when they were about to drown for the second time, “Don’t yield to fear.” Your God is bigger than the waves that are threatening to swamp you.

5. Get some good friends behind you, people who really believe in you and want to encourage you. Tell them your dream. Ask them to pray for you.

6. Get yourself a life coach or a spiritual director or a special friend or partner with whom you can think aloud and share your triumphs and disappointments. If they’re good they will give you space to discover your own solutions and ask you questions that enable you to see your situation from a different point of view.

7. Keep the dream alive. There’s a flame burning down in there which you didn’t light yourself – and you know it. On your darkest days, dig deep. Remember who you are and why you’re here.

See our daring solo word-for-word dramatisation of Mark’s Gospel (1hr) SSC 17:30 13-17 Aug:

#edfringe #fringe #fringecast #MakeYourFringe #scottishstorytellingcentre #wildfires #storyteller #onemanperformance #drama #markEd2019 #marksgospel #theatre #education #faith #love #god #believe #pray #actor #performingarts #theatre #acting #performance #actor #performer #theatre #storytelling #story

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT when God does something, however big or small, in the ordinary events of life and out of pure love for you or others?

I mean, really believe it?

I was faced with just this question yesterday in my latest theatrical adventure, presenting Mark’s Gospel word for word on a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Watford High Street.

A little way into the performance my attention was drawn to a young couple right in front of me in Cafe Nero, alongside an older man a few tables away.

They were just ordinary people – not churchgoers or anything, just everyday folk enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. But they were so attentive. I mean, really drinking the words in, their faces betraying strong emotions of empathy and peace. They were even laughing (well, smiling wryly!) at my silly accents and occasional jokes (yes there are a few in I AM MARK). 😂🤣

I couldn’t believe the effect the words were having. ‘This is what I’m doing this for,’ I told myself, as I went through my theatrical paces in the blazing sunshine. ‘This is why I’m here.’

At the end of the performance (so I’m told) they were given a copy of the ‘script’ and some other stuff about the church which sponsored me, and off they went. I’ll probably never see them again, I thought.

Once I had taken my applause and packed a few things away, I returned to my ‘green room’ (actually the church vestry). A lady called Jane was there and, amazingly, she’d been praying – praying for me and the performance, while I was out in the baking sun.

She asked me how it went and I was just about to regale her with the story about the couple and the old man when she interrupted me. “Three people were really touched by what happened, weren’t they?”

How did she know? Spooky or what?

Now comes the believing part. Does one marvel at such an eventuality and see the kindness of God in it, an answer to prayer and an awesome demonstration of his winsome power? Or does one (somewhere in the depths of one’s being) secretly put it down to coincidence, and ‘It couldn’t possibly happen to me’?

That little poser reminds me of my protagonists, the original disciples, just after their mind-blowing feeding of 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Check it out in Mark Chapter 6.

There they are in a boat and the wind comes up and they’re really struggling to stay afloat. But this time there’s no Jesus in the boat with them to calm the storm. They’d left him by himself on land so he can pray…

Here Mark takes up the story:

Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, [52] for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:47-52 NIV. My emphasis)

Do you see what Mark did there? They didn’t believe Jesus. I mean, really believe in him. Not even after his walking on the water. Nor even after his calming of another storm. Nor even after the miraculous provision of loaves and fishes. Something in their hearts was hardened, it just wouldn’t give way.

Oh children of the earth! How long will you be hard of heart? (Teresa of Avila, Collected Works, vol. I, 445)

What was your reaction to my story? Disbelief? Half-belief? The full Monty?

I know what mine was, as is so often the case when God does something miraculous and kind.

We’ve all found ourselves there, my fellow hardened-of-hearters. Let’s pray for softened ones now.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NIV)

Stefan Smart will be appearing in I AM MARK @scottishstorytellingcentre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 13-17 August 2019. Book tickets here: View trailer here:

#edfringe #fringe #fringecast #MakeYourFringe #scottishstorytellingcentre #marksgospel #theatre #education #faith #love #god #hope #story #believe #life #peace #pray #actor #onemanshow #bible #church #jesus