Passion Play, a cycle

A small town in England performs the Passion in 1575. The man who plays Pontius Pilate wants to play the role of Christ, played by his cousin. The woman playing the Virgin Mary falls in love with the man playing Christ. The players are haunted by the confusion between their roles on-stage and off. The second act leaps to Germany in 1934, where the young man playing Christ is slowly drawn towards the Nazi party. Historically, the first actors in Oberammergau to join the Nazi party were the director of the Passion and the actor who played Christ. In the third act, a small town in South Dakota puts on their annual Passion Play. The man playing Pontius Pilate goes to serve Vietnam, returning only to find that his part has been given away to an equity actor. The man playing the role of Christ ends up betraying his brother. Ronald Reagan visits the town, campaigning for the 1984 election. The cycle, together, explores relationship between faith and politics, authenticity and theatricality, community and political icons.

Written with the intent to be performed all together. However, Acts 1 and 2 can be performed as a stand-alone piece, as can Act 3.

Cast Requirements

9 men
5 women

Flexible Set

Production and Development History

Part 3 commissioned by Arena Stage. Productions: Arena Stage (2005), Goodman Theatre (2007); Epic Theatre Ensemble (2010).