Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

People and Entertainment

German city united by 400 years of theater tradition

#German #city #united #years #theater #tradition

As you stroll through the German alpine village of Oberammergau, chances are you’ll encounter Jesus or one of his 12 disciples.

Of the 5,500 residents there this year, 1,400, ranging in age from three months to 85 years, take part in the ten-yearly staging of an elaborate “Passion Play” depicting the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The tradition, which dates back to 1634, has endured four centuries of wars, religious unrest and pandemics – including the recent Covid-19 crisis, which resulted in the show being postponed by two years.

“I think we’re a bit stubborn,” says Frederic Mayet, 42, when asked how the village managed to stick to tradition.

Mayet, playing Jesus for the second time this year, says the Passion Play has become a big part of the city’s identity.

The only requirement for participating in the five-hour show, whether as an actor, choir singer or backstage assistant, is that you were born in Oberammergau or have lived here for at least 20 years.

“I remember we talked about it in kindergarten. I didn’t know exactly what it was about, but of course I wanted to take part,” says Cengiz Gorur, 22, who plays Judas.

– ‘Hidden Talent’ –

The tradition, which dates back to the Thirty Years’ War, grew out of a belief that staging the play would help protect the city from disease.

According to legend, the plague disappeared from the city after the premiere.

In the picturesque alpine village, Jesus and his disciples are omnipresent – from paintings on the facades of old houses to carved wooden figures in shop windows.

One cannot help but get the impression that an above-average number of men with long hair and beards roam the streets.

An intricate image of Jesus graces the stage at the open-air Passionate Theater, where the latest edition of the show runs from mid-May to October 2nd.

“What always fascinates me is the quality of the relationship between everyone involved, young and old. It’s a nice community, a kind of ‘passion’ family,” says Walter Lang, 83.

He’s just sad that his wife, who passed away in February, won’t be there this year.

“My parents met at a passion play, and I also met my future wife at one,” says Andreas Rödl, mayor and choir member of the village.

Gorur, who has Turkish roots, was discovered in 2016 by Christian Stückl, the artistic director of the Munich Volkstheater, who will stage the play for the fourth time this year.

“I didn’t really know what to do with my life. I probably would have ended up selling cars, the typical story,” he laughs.

Now he is to study acting in Munich in the fall.

“I discovered my hidden talent,” he says.

– Violence, Poverty and Disease –

Over the past 40 years, Stueckl has “done a lot for the reputation of the show that he revolutionized,” says Barbara Schuster, 35, HR Manager, who plays Maria Magdalena.

“Going to the Passion Play used to be like going to a mass. Now it’s a real theatrical performance,” she says.

In the 1980s, Stueckl abridged all passages in which the Jews were accused of being responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, thereby freeing the play of anti-Semitic connotations.

“Hitler used the Passion Play for his propaganda,” Schuster points out.

The play’s themes of violence, poverty and disease are reflected in today’s world through the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, says Mayet, the actor who plays Jesus.

“Apparently we have the same problems as 2000 years ago,” he says.

For 83-year-old Lang, who is playing a pawn this year, the “Hallelujah” after the final resurrection of Christ in October will be a particularly moving moment.

“Because we don’t know if we’ll be there again next time,” he says, and his eyes fill with tears.

Social Tags:
#German #city #united #years #theater #tradition

You May Also Like

Health News

The cosmetic and facial plastic surgery practice is hosting a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for its new Chattanooga state-of-the-art location.

Current News

“NEXT by TRT World Forum” Brought Together Globally Known Young Professionals

Current News

J & D Oriental Rug Co. sells antique and vintage carpets and rugs sourced from different regions with an inventory of over 6000 unique...

Business and Tech

Big brands are rushing into the metaverse, but the path to profit is still unclear and mass adoption could be years away, one of...