Throughout the COVID era, the arts at St. Mark's have continued to thrive curricularly. Arts Department head Chris Kent is teaching theater arts remotely, while Director of Music James Wallace has been working diligently with St. Mark's students, producing music for regular chapel services, the uniquely virtual 2020 Lessons & Carols service, and some wonderful a capella vocal productions. The visual arts, taught by faculty veterans Barbara Putnam and Aggie Belt, have been particularly impressive. Ms. Belt's sculptors have created "cultural unity vessels" in which students combine pottery styles from different cultures to produce unique objects. There was also an extraordinarily creative output from Ms. Putnam's studio artists this fall and leading up to the Christmas break. The vast majority of these artistic endeavors have taken place remotely, so it is exciting to realize that the arts at St. Mark's are thriving despite all challenges.
Winter Play 2020 - The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
This year’s winter play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis, will be performed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, February 27, 28, and 29, in the Putnam Family Arts Center’s Black Box Theater, at 7:30 p.m. The production is directed by veteran Theater Arts teacher Chris Kent. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so for reservations, please contact Mr. Kent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First staged off Broadway in 2005, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot tells the story of a court case over the ultimate fate of the title character. The play uses flashbacks to an imagined childhood and lawyers who call for the testimonies of such witnesses as Mother Teresa, Caiaphas, Saint Monica, Sigmund Freud, and Satan.
Cast & Crew
Henrietta Iscariot/Mary Magdalen- Elise Gobron ’21
Judas Iscariot - Yiwei Lu ’20
Jesus - Aiden Tam ’22
Judge - Michael Ferlisi ’22
Bailiff - Samantha Wang ’21
Fabiana Aziza Cunningham - Sydni Williams ’22
Yusef El-Fayoumy - Illia Rebechar ’20
Satan - Alexander Sumner ’20
Gloria/Sigmund Freud - Kendall Sommers ’22
Matthias of Galilee - Rebecca Wu ’21
Saint Monica/Mother Teresa - Anu Akibu ’20
Caiaphas The Elder - Alex Chen ’21
Pontius Pilate- Kevin Takayama ’21
Lorain/Soldier #3 - Sophie Ledonio ’23
Butch Honeywell/Sister Glenna/Soldier #1 - Lina Zhang ’21
Uncle Pino/Soldier #2 - Steven Yang ’23
Saint Peter – Kian Sahani ’20
Saint Matthew – Jack Griffin ’20
Lauren Tran ’22, Lowell Fenstermacher ’22, Daniella Pozo ’22
Assistant Stage Manager
Charlie Poulin ’23
The Theatre Department is an active component in the life of the school, mounting a major main stage production in the Fall and Winter, and the ever-popular Student Directed One Act Festival in the spring. There exist numerous opportunities for performers and non-performers alike, including a fully student-run tech crew, and each year, more than 20 percent of the student body participates in the productions.
The productions are brought to life in our intimate black box theater and are typically modern and ensemble-based. Recent productions have included the zany serio-comedic She Kills Monsters; the thought-provoking Irish drama The Cripple of Inishmaan; a vivid staging of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; and Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, Angels in America.
Additionally, in the Summer of 2019, the St. Mark’s Theatre Department was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of the American High School Theater Festival, mounting a full-scale production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman
This fall, veteran art teacher Barbara Putnam—entering her 42nd year on the St. Mark's faculty—assumes the mantle of Senior Teacher. This is an historic transition for the School, as Ms. Putnam will be the first woman to hold that title in the 150-plus-year history of St. Mark's.
Theater arts has been part of the St. Mark's academic curriculum for 46 years now, and recent events have not stopped its momentum, but rather simply refocused its direction somewhat.
This year's winter play, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis, tells an intriguing story wrapped around ideas. The St. Mark's production, which will be performed this coming Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, February 27, 28, and 29, in the Putnam Family Arts Center's Black Box Theater, is a beautifully acted experience well worth seeing.
For five days in February, St. Mark's alumnus Nicholas Braun '06 visited the School, meeting with students and faculty and working with students in Theater Arts classes and the upcoming winter play.