Inverbervie & District Club met on November 30, when in the absence of the ‘billed’ speaker, Programme Secretary John Gillespie more-than-capably filled the gap with a beautifully put-together presentation about this decade’s Passion Play at Oberammergau in Bavaria.
John had organised the trip for members and friends of Bervie Kirk to witness the re-enactment of Jesus’ sufferings, Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Dating back to 1634, the elders of the village convened in the R.C.Chapel of St Peter & St Paul to pray that the bubonic plague, spread by rats’ fleas, would spare the village. If it did, this play would be performed every ten years, indefinitely.
The village was spared and, with the exception of 1940 during the 2nd World War, the Passion Play has continued without interruption ever since.
From May to October the play is performed five days a week by a cast of 2,000 - all villagers - to an audience of nearly 5,000 at 125 euros a time!
The 200 year old script and music - little altered - is supported by a 110 strong choir and 100 strong orchestra.
In it’s time the play was supported by King (Mad) Ludwig II of Bavaria (perhaps more famous for Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspirational castle for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Snow White).
Woodcarvings and beautifullly painted murals on houses linger long in the memory, as do the dramatic natural effects of the weather which can cause, on a good day, darkness during the Crucifixion, the living tableaux, etc.
John Gove thanked John for the wonderful photographs and a sincere appreciation of such an unique effort by a unique community, done with a great deal of personal commitment.