"visionary... magic happens and the audience is transported to the year 955 to be voyeurs to a most interesting, sordid and purposely obscured piece of Catholic Church history....quite an accomplishment!ó Amazing." Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, TheatreJones.com
"Absolute johnny on the spot! Consider it a sin of omission to not attend MBS Productions' narrative drama John XII." Alexandra Bonifield, Examiner.com
"If you love power, sex, and murder, then Pope John the XII and his entourage are the ones to see. Sonna brings his solid, historical vision into a fascinating stage production.... Mr. Sonna's picturesque writing and healthy balance of comedy and drama charms the audience from beginning to end.... From scene to scene, audience members sit poised, at the edge of their seats completely enthralled." Bianca Baidoo associate theatre critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
"In the title role, Joshua Scott Hancock brings a world-weary, glowering erudition to Pope John XII. He has the right detachment... Kevin Wickersham as Adalbert gives the show its moral compass and conscience. Wickershamís performance is canny, inspired and emotionally rich. Cody Hinson brings much gusto and aplomb to his turn as the warrior Otto." Christopher Soden, Edge Dallas
"Amazing...Sinsational...[an] original Masterpiece" Jana Edele, TheVelvetKittens.com
"What is it you people want out of original theater these days? What will make you come in droves to fill in rows of seats before yelling "Bravo!" and tossing all manner of cut flowers upon the stage? Mark-Brian Sonna had penned drama, personal accounts and comedy and had been met with positive feedback, sure, but this time, just wait. In telling the story of the controversial lover Pope Octavius, he may have hit upon the perfect pairing with his edgy brand of comedic drama." Merritt Martin, Dallas Observer
John XII by Mark-Brian Sonna, World Premiere July 9 - August 1, 2009
Who was John XII?
A backstabbing, bitchy, conniving, manipulative, sexy, lustful, and wickedly funny man that changed the world.His real name was Octavius, and for 8 years he ruled the world.He was a lover of women and men, and he was appointed Pope at the age of 18.Was he a devil or a saint?You decide.This comedic drama is based on the historical, outrageous, and controversial events surrounding Johnís ascent to the papacy.
This play contains adult language, sexual situations, and nudity.
Joshua Scott Hancock Kevin Wickersham David Swanner Aimee Adams Cody Hinson Mike Hathaway
Directed by Mark-Brian Sonna Production Asistance by Caitlyn Baidas
Photography copyright Bethany M. Hubbard, 2009
John XII Cast:
Joshua Scott Hancock, John XII: Is delighted to return yet again to MBS Productions after receiving critical raves for his performances in Oedipus Rex and Dante: Inferno. He received his Masterís from Texas Womanís University, where he specialized in Directing and Arts Administration. While at TWU he interned in Prague, Dublin, and New York City. He also studied at Texas Shakespeare Festival and KilgoreCollege, where he learned to love combat and classical acting. Joshua now serves as the Artistic Director of Dentonís Fight Boy Theatre which is Dentonís first Fringe or Guerrilla Theatre, which explores movement and diversity. Joshua has acted in many plays including favorites, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Daddy Brubeck in Sweet Charity, Amanda in For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls, and Pecos in West of the Pecos. In addition to acting and directing, he is trained in Stage Movement, Fight Choreography, and Dance. Joshua is active in the theatres in the DFW area and has been seen on stage and assisting backstage in numerous shows. He would like to thank his family, Amanda, Shakes and my love, Elle for all their love and support. If I could rule the world the first thing I would do is to appoint great minds that would do my bidding and I would go take a vacation. John XII was a saintÖthat liked sleeping with the Devil.
Kevin Wickersham Adalbert: I hail from the 703 district of Midland, Texas which has since been reduced to rubble by space invading amphibians. I am ever so pleased to be returning to the stage with MBS productions having been seen in Dante: Inferno as Ciacco and a chorus of other helacious sufferers as well as in Oedipus Rex as Chorus Leader. One can usually catch me on stage in Denton performing at Denton Community Theater, Fight Boy Theater, Music Theater of Denton or on internet radio at renagaderadio.net. At DCT I had the pleasure of playing myself in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged.) With FBT I got the chance to appear shirtless as Joe in The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From and as a woman in Lysistrata. In MTD productions I'm usually "second guy on the left." Was John an angel or a devil? Who am I to say? What I can say for certain is that the kid was a friggin' genius. If I ruled the world? Free food for a day. Enjoy.
David Swanner, Liutprand:I am thrilled to finally be stepping back onto the stage after a ten year hiatus from acting! Where has the time gone? In my varied theatrical career, I have been lucky enough to work for many different theaters and perform a variety of different roles. I have done everything from children's theater to musicals to drama. Locally, I have been seen at Dallas Children's Theater in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Mr. Salt and at Pocket Sandwich Theater in The Ritz as Chris. Outside of Dallas, I have been seen in Burn This, Greater Tuna, Little Shop of Horrors, A Chorus Line, and Psycho Beach Party to name just a few. I currently reside in Garland and work in Dallas in the hospitality industry. I just want to say thank you to my family and friends who have given me such love and support. If I could rule the world the first thing that I would do is to outlaw NASCAR. I'm sorry if I offend any NASCAR fans out there but I just don't understand the appeal. It's a bunch of cars going in circles and constantly turning left. I can watch the lost tourists in downtown Dallas do the same thing. I believe that John XII was no saint but I don't think he was the devil either. I believe that if someone is a devil that they are pure evil with no redeeming qualities. John certainly displays "devilish" qualities though. Using people to get what you want, lying and cheating are certainly actions I associate with the devil but I think John did what he had to do to survive. He was put into a position at an early age with many people plotting against him. I wonder what I would have done if I had been in his shoes?
Aimee Adams, Isobel: I have very much enjoyed working with everyone involved in the show. Intimate theatre and intimate casts are a good way to get to know someone, and thus, I invite you to please do the same with the characters so willing to open up to you. Some of my favorite roles have brought me to where I am now as an actor, in both my performances and my outlook and philosophy. These roles include Alice in Closer with Shank Productions, Jenny in The Shape of Things and an ensemble cast member in Conversations About Love with Sundown Collaborative Theatre. Iíve also learned from and enjoyed directing The Eight: Reindeer Monologues and Apocalyptic Butterflies, and am open and looking forward to future possibilities. I remain excited and positive in what the present holds, and first and foremost I will strive to create art that allows the audience to do the same. If I could rule the world the first thing I would do is make the proclamation to no longer rule it. John XII was simply a man.
Cody Hinson, Otto: I am originally from San Antonio, TX and have recently moved to the DFW area upon my graduation from SamHoustonStateUniversity, where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre.Since arriving I have been cast in two movies and have done voice over work for Japanese Animation but have yet to do what I went to college forÖtheatre.This is my first show since college and I am thrilled.At other institutes I have performed in everything from Hamlet to The Pillowman but my favorite role was playing Joseph Stalin in a student written work called Grand Canyon.This play was SamHoustonStateís KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival) entry in which the play was asked to perform at the KennedyCenter in WashingtonD.C.You can also catch me performing in the Dallas Childrenís Theatre national tour of MVP this year.I am so thankful and grateful for the shows Iíve been able to perform in and give all the glory to God!!! The first thing Iíd do if I could rule the world would be to establish some sort of entertainment facilities in every state, city, and county.I think art, theatre and music is the best thing the human race has going for itself and I would want everyone to have an opportunity to experience it, create it, and live it.Except for this intervention of art by the government I would get the government out of the way of the people!!! John was human.Not a saint, not a devil, just human with shortcomings just like the rest of us.
Mike Hathaway, Berengarius: My most recent roles include William Shakespeare in MBS Productions' A New Drama and Mr. Fix in Rover Dramawerks' Around the World in 80 Days. I spent the last few months stage managing Oedipus Rex and Adam & Eve in the Garden of Delights for MBS and can currently be seen in a series of national TV ads for Nutrisystem D.Other previous roles include Mortimer Brewster Arsenic and Old Lace, The Creature Tim Kelly's Frankenstein,Roy Selridge Biloxi Blues, and both Billy Bob Wortman & Corky Oberlander Lu Ann Hampton Laverty Oberlander.Outside of acting, I do free-lance graphic design and voice-over work. I'm also part of the award winning production team at Tempest Productions and recently joined the operations staff on a part-time basis at the DallasMuseum of Nature & Science in FairPark. I live in historic North Oak Cliff with black lab Rose and kitties Blanche, Sophia and Drucilla. From where I sit, it seems that most of the crap going on in the world is either started or antagonized by organized religion, so if I ruled the world the first thing to go would be the influence of any religious body on government. As for John XII being a devil or a saint, I'd say at the time he lived: a saint! Bringing order and stability and showing the masses that they had their own set of political power to use (albeit through potential bloodshed, but hey - you work with what you have). But in retrospect, considering the Church's power that he helped establish, that power that is used today to promote hatred and ignorance as law throughout the globe, I'd have to go the other way.