This Easter weekend sees the return of the Edinburgh Passion Play that was first performed in Princes Street Gardens in 2005 and has become a regular event in the city.
The play has taken several forms, as in its 2014 production when crowds of around 2,000 gathered to watch The Edinburgh Passion, a retelling of the story set in post-devolution Scotland by playwright Rob Drummond. Last year, the production was a large-scale traditional Passion Play by Kamala Maniam, but this year the play is created by the actors themselves, in a version that brings to the fore some of the characters who are on the fringes of the traditional story.
Characters such as Mary Magdalene, the disciple Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, all play a part in telling the story. Anna, the mother of Judas, is a new character devised by one of the cast who takes a key role alongside Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
Director Suzanne Lofthus, who has been directing open air Passion Plays in Scotland since 2000 and has also created Passion Plays with long-term prisoners in Louisiana State Penitentiary, and Opera Prison in Milan, which has been called Italy’s toughest jail said, “I’m interested in some of the characters in the story whose voices are not normally heard. Some of the actors are very strong and have been doing the play for a long time, so I wanted them to have more input than just learning their parts from a script.
“We have devised the play in rehearsals using ideas put forward by the cast. We’re thinking outside the box, looking at new ways of telling the story using movement and visual imagery as well as more traditional acting.
“The story of Easter is one of the greatest stories in the world and there are lots of ways to tell it. You might think you’ve seen it before, but you haven’t seen it done like this!”
The Edinburgh Easter Play will be performed in Princes Street Gardens West on Saturday 31st March at 2pm