IT IS STILL A YEAR UNTIL THE PREMIERE OF THE 42ND PASSION PLAY. IN GERMANY, THEATRES ARE OPENING THEIR HOUSES AGAIN AND PLAYING TO AUDIENCES. PLAY DIRECTOR CHRISTIAN STÜCKL TAKES TIME TO REFLECT ON THE PAST MONTHS.
Play director Christian Stückl (photo: Gabriela Neeb)
"Theatre has never been made an end in itself, the audience has always been important. When we considered for 2020, what do we want to generate in the audience, the answer was: you try to bring about an engagement with the figure of Jesus, to get the audience to discover Jesus anew. In today's society, he needs to be much clearer, speak much more clearly, and relate to the world. In the rehearsals, I had the feeling that at the moment Jesus was also becoming a despair of society.
At the beginning of the crisis, some said that the crisis would change us, make us better ... But I have the feeling that no one knows where it is going. We are in a vacuum, one wonders: what has all been lost? And the new hasn't started yet ... We have to learn to deal with such new situations. Maybe then the values in our heads will shift, we will become more humble again. Because we must not forget the big problems that prevail in the world, the gap between rich and poor, which is getting bigger and bigger.
'How can you think you love God when you can't even manage to love other people?' The biblical texts are full of Jesus calling us to express our faith not only in what we say, but much more in what we do. We, however, are increasingly thinking only of ourselves. The fact that anti-Semitism is on the rise again, that we show almost no interest in the refugee situation, forget how others are doing ... There are many issues that we need to deal with properly. But at the moment we are not able to do so.
Faith is something difficult because it is so hard to grasp. Jesus said, 'if you have faith, you can move mountains' - but we don't know that at the moment either. We humans don't always need to believe that we are untouchable. There has been the Spanish flu, there has been the plague ... Now Covid is here, it's not a win, but it reminds us once again who we really are.
Of course, as a theatre director, you get worn down because you don't know what to plan for. It depends on the number of actors - it's a quality that everyone who grew up here in the village is allowed to participate. The people of Oberammergau want to play, and we're optimistic: the Passion Play will take place."