After more than 100 performances, this year’s Oberammergau Passion Play is coming to an end. When the last curtain falls on Sunday evening, around 412,000 spectators have seen the world-famous amateur play about the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Again and again, the game management had to struggle with corona-related failures despite daily tests of the actors. It often had to be improvised and recast. But no performance was missed.

Millions in profit for the community

The occupancy rate was around 91 percent, which is higher than expected. For the Upper Bavarian community as the organizer, millions in profit will remain. Part of the proceeds will flow into the next Passion 2030 – in two years the preparations will start again.

It remains to be seen whether director Christian Stückl, who staged the centuries-old game for the fourth time, will be available again. The 60-year-old, who is also director of the Munich Volkstheater, only said: There are many questions about how things will continue after the Passion Play.

Stückl had postponed the passion that was actually planned for 2020 by two years because of the pandemic. Every ten years, the small mountain village puts on an extraordinary spectacle with the amateur actors. Last but not least, the mass scenes with hundreds of people are spectacular, as in the case of the condemnation of Jesus. They are a hallmark of passion.

Jesus and the disciples wear kippahs

Stückl, who is directing the Passion for the fourth time, has again worked on the text, developed the roles further and worked closely with Jewish organizations. He has fundamentally renewed the game since 1990 and freed it from anti-Jewish content. Again, Stückl had the “Shema Israel,” one of the most important prayers of the Jews, sung in Hebrew. Jesus and the disciples wear kippahs. With this emphasis on the Jewish in biblical history, Stückl also sent a strong signal against ever new anti-Semitic excesses.

This time it was also particularly important to him to show that Jesus was on the fringes of society, he said. A Jesus who is very unclerically close to the people: In keeping with a world that has gotten out of joint, Stückl showed a pugnacious and sometimes angry Jesus who calls for non-violent resistance and at times despairs of humanity.

While the last performance is still running, some who are no longer performing will probably be at the hairdresser’s. All three salons in town open extra. Since Ash Wednesday 2021, following tradition, the participants have had a hairdressing ban – with the exception of the Romans.

The passion plays go back to a plague vow: in 1633 the people of Oberammergau promised to perform the “play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” every ten years.