FEARS among the cast mounted during the final rehearsal for the Pêra Passion Play. All had begun brilliantly… the Last Supper and washing of the feet, though a bit wetter than was absolutely necessary, went off hitch-free. Everyone did what was expected of them on the Mount of Olives, but it was on the hill up towards the house of Caiphas, the High Priest, that the trouble began…
The lorry, transporting a large generator and all the lighting and sound equipment (things have changed since the time of Christ), plus the technicians and the necessary adviser or three, began to smell strongly of burning rubber. The lorry groaned its way to the Praça, where stands the house of Pontius Pilate, where it shuddered and all lights and sounds ceased. Mobile phones were brought out, excited conversations were held, the cast hung around and hung around… After half-an-hour the rehearsal continued, but without microphones, sound system and spotlights. We trudged up the hill to Calvary.
On Sunday night (March 20), the town was packed. Fortunately, prayers for rain at the morning Mass did not work. Estimates of the size of the crowd varied, around 1,000 people followed the play enthusiastically as it wound its way, enacting various scenes, through the narrow cobbled streets to the final act on the field of ‘Golgotha’, where the old people’s home is to be built.
Burning torches outlined the crowd, while lightning, swirling grey mist and earth-moving thunder highlighted Christ’s death. The crowd were moved to applaud the Resurrection, when Christ, dressed in a white tunic, rose majestically some 100ft skywards, to the accompaniment of celestial music and illuminated by spotlights.
Some 177 euros were thrown into buckets in aid of the old people’s home and there is already a rumour that the event may become annual…Contributed