Festivals | 25.01.2009
Bushy, Virtuous Actors Sought for Germany's Hit Passion Play
As no wigs are used, participants must grow their hair and beards well ahead of next year's performances. The hair decree, as it is called, comes into force on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Some 2,500 villagers have applied to take part in the next staging of the play from May to October 2010, according to its artistic director, Christian Stueckl.
"That is 300 more than we had the last time the play was performed in 2000," he told a press conference in Munich, outlining details of his third term in charge of the production.
The passion play has been performed every decade since 1634 by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau in the southern German state of Bavaria. Its origin dates back to the Thirty Years War when the village was decimated by the bubonic plague.
The surviving population promised God that if he saved them they would commemorate it by staging a dramatic representation of Christ's suffering, death and resurrection every ten years.
The only time the play was not performed was during World War II.