The Greatest Story Ever Told Never Loses Its Passion

If credits rolled at the end of The Passion in Adeje “shepherd with shovel” would appear on the honours. As noon approached Roman soldiers shuffled their sandals, the Empress toyed with her snake, even the Roman eagle had a little flutter, and the horses showed their nerves in a less delicate manner.

There has to be some back stage jitters for this annual street theatre extravaganza that re-creates the last days of Christ and his crucifixion. A cast of 300 actors rehearse for months, scenery and costumes are lovingly created, and Calle Grande is transformed to a biblical setting thanks to liberal sprinklings of palm ferns and leaves.

The crowd was bigger than ever this year, 22,000 people lined the street from the church at the top down to the small plaza where Jesus would be nailed to a wooden cross. Press and the local television crews following the scenes as they unfold dress in costume so as to not distract from the emotionally charged story.

Even The Greatest Story Ever Told can benefit from a few tweaks, this year there were more dancers and some extra passages of dialogue, relayed over speakers from head sets worn by the main characters. The key elements were all there in their usual glory, The Last Supper, the garden of Gethsemane, Pontius Pilot’s court room and the market.

The power and realism is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved, no gory detail is spared from Jesus chained and whipped by the Romans to the graphic nailing of Jesus to the cross before it is hoisted before his mother and Mary Magdalene. As Jesus forgave his captors with his last breath and his close friends wept at his loss, many of the onlookers shed tears too and everyone crowded into the final area was visibly moved as every last drop of emotion was wrung out.