The Passion Play begins with the Entry into Jerusalem and tells the Passion from the Lord's Supper through to the Crucifixion and ends with the Resurrection.

The Passion Play is divided into twelve scenes. Scenes 1 to 6 form the first part, which begins in the afternoon. After a three-hour break, scenes 7 to 12 follow in the evening.

The Passion Play begins with the Entry into Jerusalem and tells the Passion from the Lord's Supper through to the Crucifixion and ends with the Resurrection. Each scene is preceded by a performance of the choir with a Living Picture (tableau vivant - representation of paintings by living persons). The Living Pictures are contemplative-interpretive typological references to the Old Testament, accompanied by the orchestra and choir. As devotional pictures, they offer an environment to pause and reflect.

Although the Play represents only the last days in the life of Jesus, we are concerned with the whole of the Gospel, particularly with the message of Jesus and his conception of the human being. The focus is on Jesus' call to radical conversion and his turning to each individual human being. Jesus appears in an Israel ruled by Rome, in a world that was marked by social contrasts, oppression and exploitation. Every emerging unrest was nipped in the bud by Pilate. People longed for liberation from Roman rule and hoped for the Messiah. In this world, Jesus speaks of an unrestricted commandment to love one's neighbour, which includes everyone, the slave as well as the oppressor. Jesus' call to radical rethinking is the call to end hatred and counter-hatred, violence and counter-violence. It is shown that Jesus was firmly rooted in his Jewish tradition.

He speaks to the priests as a devout Jew. He strikes up the "Sch'ma Israel", the "Hear, Israel! The Lord our God' is the Lord alone!" and he admonishes the priests, who are primarily concerned with the observance of religious rituals and regulations, with the words: "You leave aside the most important matter of law, namely the right, mercy and faith.”

For us, Jesus is an outspoken young Jew who was crucified for his message, which is still valid today. We want to show a Jesus who stands up for the faith in his God, who is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, with incredible consistency.

Jesus enters Jerusalem (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

In Bethany (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

The Cleansing of the Temple (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

The Last Supper (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

The Arrest of Jesus (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

The Crucifixion (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

The Oberammergau Passion Play

Structure of the Play

Part I

Prelude: The Vow

Living Image: The Loss of Paradise

Act I: Jesus enters Jerusalem

Living Image: The Humiliation of the Israelites

Act II: Jesus in Bethany

Living Image: The Golden Calf

Act III: The Cleansing of the Temple

Living Image: Israel and the Red Sea Crossing

Act IV: The Priests and the Scribes

Living Image: The Call of Moses

Act V: The Last Supper and the Arrest of Jesus

(End of Part I – approximately 3-hour break)


Part II

Living Image: The Prophet Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Act VI: Jesus before the High Council

Living Image: The Trial of Job

Act VII: The Denial of Peter

Living Image: Cain and Abel

Act VIII: The End of Judas

Living Image: Moses before Pharao

Act IX:  Jesus before Pilate and Herod

Living Image: Josef Interprets the Dream of Pharao

Act X: The Condemnation of Jesus

Living Image: The Sacrifice of Abraham

Act XI: The Way of the Cross

Living Image: Moses Lifts up the Bronze Serpent

Act XII: The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

Living Image: The Humiliation of the Israelites (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

Living Image: The Golden Calf (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

Living Image: The Call of Moses (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)

Living Image: Moses before Pharao (Photo: Birgit Gudjonsdottir)