Oberammergau Passion Play - History:
It all started with a vow in 1633: When the plague hit the Bavarian village of Oberammergau, its inhabitants vowed that they would perform the Passion Play every ten years, if the disease would spare them.
It did, and the villagers kept their word: Once in a decade (in years ending in zero), the picturesque village in the heart of the Bavarian Alps produces the Passion Play, reenacting the last week of Jesus' life, his crucifixion and resurrection.
All the Village’s a Stage:
Oberammergau Passion Play - The Actors:
Since the 18th century, only residents who are born or have lived at least 20 years in Oberammergau are allowed to take part in the mega production – from actors, and directors, to ushers, set decorators, and seamstresses.
Actors, singers, and the members of the orchestra are for the most part no professional artists; “Jesus” is in real life a psychologist, and “Mary Magdalena” is played by a flight attendant; but their labor of love combined with intense rehearsals make the play a world-class performance.
Oberammergau Passion Play - Production:
According to tradition, no wigs or false beards are used in the Oberammergau Passion Play, so starting one year before opening night, all actors have to stop cutting their hair (and beards). Rehearsals for the extraordinary event take up to 8 months.
Oberammergau Passion Play - Performance:
The 5 hour-long play is set on an open-air stage, with the German Alps as a backdrop; the theater can seat almost 5000 people, who are protected from rain or wind by a roof.
Although texts and lyrics are in German, the Passion Play has universal appeal: More than half a million visitors from around the world come to Oberammergau to see it.
Oberammergau Passion Play - Dates and Times:
- Dates: May 15 – October 3, 2010
- Times: Thursday – Sunday, Tuesday 2:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (including a 3-hour break for a set dinner)
Passion Play Tickets and Tour Packages:
Get your tickets for the Passion Play as early as possible – usually, all performances will sell out.
Tickets to the Passion Play are between 45 and 150 Euros; it is the easiest (and cheapest) to get a travel package, which usually includes accommodation (for one or two nights), food, and discounts on other attractions.
Check out travel packages on the official website of Oberammergau.