SVP Passion Play
Tonight our parish hosted a powerful Passion Play, The Road to Calvary, performed by a cast of 2o, most of whom belong to the SVP of St Benedict's church in Clydach (Swansea Valley, Wales). They've been doing this since 1984 and travel all around the country each Lent.
Jesus is played by William Facey, a lecturer at Neath College. According to the programme:
William has played Jesus for the past 15 years. Giving up to 15 performances during the six weeks of Lent is a tremendous strain both physically and mentally and during the run of the play William will lose over half a stone in weight. He will also suffer many bruises and cuts during the realistic scenes of Christ's passion.
The play was performed in the church. Purists might disapprove (don't worry, the tabernacle was emptied beforehand) but I think it provided a powerful lesson to all those that were there - because just as the actors brought St John's Passion so vividly to life in our church, so these events are truly renewed everytime we celebrate Mass and are made present during the dramatic ceremonies of Holy Week.
It's good to see the medieval tradition of 'Mystery Plays' continue - and now that I've seen the play and spent the afternoon veiling statues in the church, Passiontide has indeed begun!