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Solange On Theater

Actor Tom Bair’s recitation of the entire Gospel According to St. Mark is not just an astonishing tour de force of memorization, but a riveting journey through a text that seems familiar but sometimes raises more questions than it answers.

Premiering on Oct. 15 at New York’s United Solo TheatreFestival, a ten-week series of solo performances, “St. Mark’s Gospel” runs about two hours and contains all 15,992 words of the King James version. Sold out on Oct. 15, another show was added on Nov. 15.

This initial performance took place in a small, off-Broadway black-box theater. With no scenery except gray walls, the set consisted of a red patio table and two chairs. Bair was seated onstage, occasionally consulting a cell phone.

As the house lights dimmed, Japanese composer Shigemasa Nakano’s ethereal music filled the room; sounds of traffic were also heard and Bair’s cell phone rang. He answered it, then put it away and strode forward to stand at center stage.