Interview with Jesus!
With a two year delay, the year of the Passion Play has finally dawned and with it, everyone at Trans World Travel would like to take this opportunity to wish our travelers the very best of health and happiness in 2022!
We decided that we could not think of a better way to celebrate a new year than to request an ‘Interview with Jesus’ – namely with Frederik Mayet, one of the two villagers with the honor of playing the role of Christ. Frederik is also the press representative for Oberammergau, so we asked him to present an exclusive glimpse for our travelers a behind the scenes on the preparations for the 42nd Passion Play.
Already in December, the workshops came back to life and the set designers brought the Golden Calf, the lions, the tablets of the Ten Commandments and the snakes out of storage. These are just some of the props, which are used in the living tableaux - the scenes from the Old Testament, which are inserted between the events of the Passion.
Although most of the roles will be played by the same villagers as planned in 2020, all 2000 participants have to be fitted again for costumes. In two years boys have grown into men, some of the ladies have had babies and some of the players have gained a little weight! So, the tailors and costume designers are back at work with their sewing machines. The orchestra is already fitted out, so now it is the turn of the choir, before the tailors turn their attention to the speaking roles. Music was introduced into the Passion Play already in 1680 and still plays a very important role today, so before Christmas the musicians began the first rehearsals.
Soon it will be the turn of the speaking roles to re-start rehearsals. Because the Passion Play is performed five days a week from May to October, since 1980 the major roles such as Jesus, his Disciples, Mary, Pontius Pilate, have been shared between two villagers on alternate days, in order that the performances should not become too strenuous for one person. It is the unenviable task of the director, Christian Stückl, to ensure that both Jesus', both Judas', both High Priests, both Mary Magdalenes produce the same performance.
Then he has to keep the People of Jerusalem under control, from the babes in arms to the 80 year olds, who may be participating in their eighth Passion Play, as they line the streets for the Entry into Jerusalem or at the Crucifixion. There are occasions during the Play when up to 1000 people are on the stage at the same time. With a population of only 5500 inhabitants, you can understand how the Passion Play dominates life in the village of Oberammergau - at one time participants had to be born and bred in the village, but now as long as you have lived there for 20 years, you are accepted as a local!
So without further ado, click on the link below to view our ‘Interview with Jesus’ with a word of caution. You will be surprised that ‘Jesus’ speaks such good English, but remember that the Passion Play is performed in German – on the other hand, you do know the story!
As Frederik has explained, the history of the Play is a result of the Black Plague almost 400 years ago. The postponement of the 42nd play from 2020 until 2022 as the result of our 21st century version of the plague is indeed a case of history repeating itself. But in Oberammergau, the Vow taken almost four centuries ago has already been renewed and everyone in the village is committed to fulfilling that promise.