"Everybody needs memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance at bay."
Mark with the cast of ALLOTMENT ANNIE, an InFusion Theatre Company production, 2013
A former Joliet newspaper columnist, Mark Mason graduated from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2007 with a degree in playwriting, after which DePaul selected his play Hurrah for the Next Who Dies, a film noir-inspired true crime story about the murder of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle, as their 2008 New Playwrights Series production, where it was directed by former ATC Artistic Director Damon Kiely and nominated for the David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award. Two of Mark's plays have been produced in short play festivals by The Inconvenience: Make Your Visit as Inconspicuous as Possible, as part of their Post-Traumatic Festival in September 2009, and then Intangible Assets (Some Overtime Required) in their STRAPPED Festival of New Plays in March 2010, both pieces directed by Inconvenience Artistic Director Chris Chmelik. Elsewhere, in October 2010, Redtwist Theatre produced Mark's play Dracula: A Tragedy, a new adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic horror novel and A Perfect Shade of Skyline Gray, Mark's romantic melodrama about a vanished female journalist in 1957, was part of New Leaf Theatre's last Treehouse Reading Series, where it was directed by Signal Ensemble Co-Artistic Director Ronan Marra. From 2012 to 2015, Mark often served as a director for Chicago writer Laura Nessler, including for a staged reading of her play Negative Splits at Chicago Dramatists and an excerpt of her Pritchard's on Fire for the Stockyards Theatre Project. In April 2012, Mark's play Rest for the Weary Spirit (co-written with Ellen Chambers) received its world premiere in a production directed by J.P. Rapozo at the Archway Studio/Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, and excerpts from that play were showcased in the piece Vivaldi's Winter in the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival. In 2013, Mark's output included the world premieres of Allotment Annie, a World War II-set black comedy presented by InFusion Theatre Company at Strawdog Theater, Muse on A Tuesday Morning, a one-act tragedy directed by Shane Kenyon for The Artistic Home Ensemble's 12th Annual Cut to the Chase Festival, and Miss Moore's Senior Drama Class Presents..., an adaptation of Edna St. Vincent Millay's collection Second April and the November 22 1963 edition of LIFE magazine, which Mark directed for the 6th Annual City Lit Theater Art of Adaptation Festival. In 2014, Mark was asked to write two pieces for the Fourth Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival, and those plays (Ride the Dew and Save Our Tower) were directed, respectively, by Jo Cattell and Hutch Pimental at Victory Gardens. Also that year, Mark's play Frozen Fire, adapted from Amy Lowell's poem "A Fairy Tale" and inspired by the real-life 1943 murder of Chicago showgirl Estelle Carey, was directed by Amy C. Buckler for the 7th Annual City Lit Art of Adaptation Festival, an event which also included Laura Nessler's comedy Pachelbel, directed by Mark and starring Ellen Chambers, a play awarded "Best in Show" by a panel of City Lit judges. In 2015, Mark again wrote two plays for the Chicago One-Minute Play Festival, those plays (To Serve and Protect: Remix, based on the killing of Akai Gurley, and No Train No Pain, a comic attack against the policies of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel) directed respectively by Sydney Chatman and Spenser Davis, and began developing his play Black Ice Coffins (a beat-poetry flavored retelling of the 1960 Summerdale Scandal that rocked the Chicago Police Department, co-written with Kay Kron) with the Outlaw Production Collective, in addition to doing workshop readings of his plays A Family Emergency and Angel Down at Love, the latter of which (an epic tragedy about the city of Dallas during the week before the assassination of John F. Kennedy) was a semi-finalist for American Blues 2016 Blue Ink Playwriting Award. 2016 saw the release of both the 108 Stories full-length feature The Difficult Season, co-written by Mark and Laura Nessler and co-directed by Mark and Sam Parry, and Mark's short film Angie's Prayer to Saint Valentine, starring Cristiana Barbatelli & Zach Kenney, both films available for viewing on Youtube. This year, Mark's work again appeared in the Chicago One-Minute Play Festival: his play Profiles in...? directed by Anna Trachtman, examined the abuses committed by Profiles Theatre and the lack of action taken by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. Mark also directed Carissa Meyer & Larissa Strong in Jordy Williams' play Personal Heroes for Talif Productions' Empathy Festival at the Public House Theater, and co-directed with Kendall Alaine Reasons his play Posin', or Air for Norman Rockwell for City Lit's 10th Annual Art of Adaptation Festival; later this summer will see the Chicago premiere of Rest for the Weary Spirit in a production at Gorilla Tango starring Amy Berkovec and directed by Julia Rufo.