Performance Criticism Meets Perspective Criticism: Critiquing the Use of Point of View in David Rhoads' Performance of Mark

The performing of biblical narratives has gained increasing attention since the 1980s, but analysis of such performances has not yet considered the role of point of view in the dynamics of the story being performed. Perspective criticism--a new methodology involving the analysis of point of view in biblical narratives--indicates that a storyteller can portray characters from an objective on-the-sidelines point of view, thus maintaining a distance from them, or can filter the events of the story line through a particular character's point of view, thus creating a sense of affinity with the character. This distinction can be realized in a performance through choosing between retaining the persona of the narrator (simply telling the audience what the characters are doing), and taking on the persona of a character (mimicking the character's voice and actions). In this session, we will view a portion of David Rhoads' performance of Mark, witnessing how his proclivity to mimic characters' voices and actions results in the creation of a sense of affinity with even characters with whom a sense of distance is obviously intended.