A troupe of 150 performers will decamp from the Wintershall Estate, Surrey, bringing with them a sprinkling of donkeys, a scattering of horses, and a 51kg Jesus, for an al fresco Good Friday show that aims to conjure just what it was like to be in a bloodthirsty Jerusalem crowd some 2,000 years ago. Around 25,000 spectators are expected to flock to the Square for a performance that, say organisers, won’t flinch in depicting the goriness of the tale, much like Mel Gibson’s controversial 2006 film of the story, which, in its lascivious portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, came perilously close at times to resembling a gay S&M flick.
The production hasn’t yet been rubber-stamped by the Mayor’s office, but it was given the holy nod of approval by the Archbishop of Westminster, who rubbished the suggestion that it could be viewed as a proselytising production. It’s true that Trafalgar Square regularly holds religious events, though perhaps none as explicitly dramatic as this tale. For those rationalists concerned about religion’s return to prominence, this may not be a welcome precedent.
The Passion of Christ will be performed at Trafalgar Square on April 2nd.