It was magical performing for just under 100 people at St Luke’s Church in Ramsgate last night. It’s been quite a while since I’d last been up on stage, so I was, perhaps understandably, more nervous than normal. But the whole performance passed off very well and I received some wonderful feedback at the end. This was also the first performance at which I sold some DVDs of the CMaxTV film version. I’m glad I brought them along as they seemed to go down very well.
Onto the details of the performance: I would say that the best part of it was undoubtedly the second half, from chapter 9 onwards. This was because by that time I really felt in my ‘groove’ and the focus of my thinking was not on how I was doing, which had occasionally plagued my work earlier.
Instead I was focused on Jesus himself. I find that the very best performances, the ones that evoke the most sympathetic response from the audience, are the ones in which I concentrate on him. As such the presentation becomes a kind of prayer. Don’t ask me how this works. All I know is that it’s the most delightful experience. And audiences definitely seem to notice the difference.
Having said that, the first half included some interesting experiments. My academic work with John Burnett in the Gospel of Mark Workshop has bought up a whole series of new understandings of the gospel, and in particular of Jesus‘s identity. Theologians call this ‘Christology’. John has what you may call a high Christology. In other words he believes that the gospel presents Jesus as nothing less than God himself. And there is no doubt that Mark’s text includes much evidence for this view.
I tried to incorporate some of these ideas into my performance, with limited success, as as I am still getting used to the idea.Having said that a man in the audience noted the difference in the Q&A afterwards and said he particularly valued the presentation of Jesus‘s authority. I guess I’ll keep on experimenting!
More to the point my own understanding of the gospel will no doubt develop as I continue to pray with this amazing story.
See an exclusive excerpt from the performance here