Archive for March 30th, 2013
More Passion Than Ever In Adeje

The greatest story ever told just got greater. The annual street performance of The Passion in Adeje has run on a familiar format for at least the last decade but a new expanded programme saw the last days of Christ played out from the top of Calle Grande and then back up again ending in Plaza de España. It was an inspired move that nearly doubled the time to two hours and made the most of the award winning main plaza that overlooks Barranco del Invierno.

I arrived about 20 minutes before the noon start and mingled with the horses, chariot, Roman soldiers, hawk, and around 100 extras waiting just around the turn from the church at the top of the street. It was a hot one in the south of Tenerife, the digital readouts on the way up from Los Cristianos were sweltering at 26 degrees, just one more factor to add to pre show nerves after a years planning and rehearsals.

One of the things that makes The Passion so enthralling is the total dedication to the cause, straw and palm leaves are spread on the road, the stage areas for the set pieces of the drama are lovingly crafted, the television crews filming for the live feed all dress in the costume of the period, even the phone kiosks along the route are covered with crimson drapes so as not to distract from the images.

With a roll of drums and a clip clop of horses hooves the procession started slowly down the road as an estimated 23,000 people jostled gently for the best vantage points. Many had arrived very early and had taken root at the tables and chairs outside the bars and cafes that were experiencing a much needed boom in takings. The new elongated route allowed the Roman soldiers and their horses to milk the full pomp and power from their presence. Once at the bottom of the hill Jesus and his disciples took over and performed The Last Supper around a large table on the Plaza Cruz de Llano.

With the action shown on a giant screen at each end of the street, Jesus moved back up the road via some soul searching in the Garden of Gethsemane, arrest and trial at the Roman high council and court, and the brutal seizing, whipping, and forcing of Jesus to carry his cross up to the scene of his execution at Plaza de España. During all this the dialogue was broadcast in Spanish over speakers via state of the art head sets for the principal players – only Jesus is portrayed by a professional actor.

The wide open space of Plaza de España was a perfect setting with people banked up the stone steps outside the church and a stage at the back of the plaza set against natures own stunning scenery from Roque del Conde and the Barranco del Invierno. Possibly for future years it might be good to have another giant screen in this plaza ass many packed in their earlier on and missed a lot of the build up as the story unfolded on the way up the road.

The climax wrung out every last drop of emotion as Jesus was nailed down onto the cross and it was hoisted into position. The cries of his mother and Mary Magdalene and the cutting down of the body before wrapping it in cloth and carrying it slowly away had the crowd spellbound. There were a lot of different nationalities, religious beliefs, and cynics like myself in the crowd but the emotion and power were as always amazing. Updating a classic tour de force can be a bit risky but this was a huge success and a fitting opening to the Easter weekend.