In-the-theater selfie! Photography is prohibited of the performance itself.

31 July 2022: The Passion Play was absolutely incredible! It was worth every minute of the 4 year, 3 month wait from when we got the tickets.

This morning we had the chance to attend a 30-minute English language introduction to the play. It was also a chance to explore the theater before the crowds. It was presented by one of the first ever non-Catholic/non-Protestant performers: a young man born in Oberammergau, but of Turkish descent and a practicing Muslim. That rule changed for the 2000 performance, when this young man was 11 years old and could play one of the townspeople children. He’s now assistant director! After the talk was about 15 minutes of Q&A where we learned a lot of cool facts of things happening behind the scenes.

A chance to see the theater before it’s packed with people!
This is Abdullah Karaca, he played Nicodemus and is the Assistant Director.

Here’s one: on Ash Wednesday the year *before* a Passion Play year, the men in the town stop getting haircuts until closing night (unless you play a Roman soldier or Pontius Pilate). You end up with very realistic hairdos (especially among the darker haired performers). It isn’t met with as much enthusiasm as I thought. After the last performance, many of the men will shave their heads before even leaving the theater.

There’s a timeline of the history of the performances since 1634.

The play is performed primarily in German with a few areas of Hebrew. We got English transcription books with which we could follow along…it wasn’t as difficult to do that as I thought.

The book on the right is the English translation of the script. I was nervous I would be so lost having to read along but it wasn’t that bad at all.

The music is based on score from the early 1800s…the same time period as Beethoven… and you could definitely feel some similarities in there. But Beethoven wasn’t involved in this score. I was intrigued to learn that Carl Orff (“Carmina Burana”) was involved in some score updates between 1960-1970.

We had a delicious Bavarian dinner during the break. I didn’t realize our ticket package included a mid-play dinner until just a couple months ago: a nice surprise.

The Gästehaus Magold. We are on the 2nd floor with the balcony. Read my review here.

We spend tonight in a lovely Gästehaus  in town…we hit our next destination tomorrow!