Eliot Leffler kicks off this season's line-up with an indepth look at the Oberammergau Passion Play. In the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022, the people of Oberammergau, Germany will reemerge from the Covid-19 pandemic amid preparations for the massive community theatre project they mount every ten years. Throughout the late 20th century, this town’s tradition of performing Jesus’s crucifixion was frequently critiqued, both for promoting antisemitic stereotypes, and for its unwavering fealty to an archaic Catholic doctrine that the Vatican had moved beyond. But since 1990, the director of this Passion Play has been pushing for radical change. The research is based on semi-structured interviews with approximately 20 community members, all of whom were engaged in preparations for the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play when Covid19 caused the town to suspend rehearsals and reschedule the event for 2022. Interviews enabled the Oberammergauers to reflect on the current iteration of the play and their experiences in past iterations, explaining what makes the process meaningful for them and what kinds of interactions it facilitates.
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Fall 2021 Line-up