The Playgoer: Mel Gibson on a Smaller Budget?

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mel Gibson on a Smaller Budget?

Interesting Slate article taking us into the subculture of community church-produced Passion Plays. Scholar Patton Dodd reports on a magical mystery-play tour he took during the Easter holidays.

Many are tiny church pageants with casts of 12 disciples, a Jesus of Nazareth, and perhaps a couple of Roman centurions, all wearing bed sheets with nylon ropes tied around their waists. Others, such as the musical Tetelestai in Columbus, Ohio, and the Topeka Passion Play in Kansas, are semiprofessional events that hosting churches have perfected over the course of multiyear runs. But the most well-attended are Bible spectaculars that would make Cecil B. DeMille swoon, featuring immense casts and crews who pull off gritty depictions of first-century capital punishment and Vegas-y musical numbers.

1 comment:

isaac butler said...

I'd be verrry curious about the depiction of Jews in those plays. Until very recently (as in post-Vatican II) Jews in passion plays were depicted complete with horns and asking for Jesus' blood to be upon them and their descendents... they were a major locus of and catalyst for Catholic Anti-Semitism.

The Honest-to-God True Story of The Atheist, a play which I will be revisitng as a director next month is a modern medieval "host desecration" play reimagined to be about Atheists instead of Jews. Host Desecration plays were common in the Middle Ages, and used anti-semitic stereotypes to whip up pogroms.

Just something to think about.