Passion Play (Ruhl)
by Sarah Ruhl
Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 8m, 3f
Hailed by The New Yorker’s John Lahr as “extraordinary,” “bold,” and “inventive,” Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play takes us behind the scenes of three very different communities attempting to stage the death and resurrection of Christ.
This intimate epic occurs at the timely intersection of politics and religion. Ruhl dramatizes a community of players rehearsing their annual staging of the Easter Passion in three different eras: 1575 Northern England, just before Queen Elizabeth outlaws the ritual; 1934 Oberammergau, Bavaria, as Hitler is rising to power; and Spearfish, South Dakota, from the time of Vietnam through Reagan’s presidency. In each period, the players grapple with the transformative nature of art, and politics are never far in the background.
One of The New Yorker's "Ten Best Plays" of 2008
Sarah Ruhl is the 2003 recipient of the Whiting Award for Drama
"Her [Ruhl’s] unmistakable voice - poetic and quirky, underpinned with serious feeling and even more serious intelligence - trumpets forth in brash, impressive form in this ambitious [...] play." - The New York Times, Read More
"Ruhl’s voice seems to retreat beyond the sphere of the play, performing that special vanishment that good writers - and good gods - know best how to do [...] Critic’s Pick!" - Time Out New York, Read More
"Let’s just get the superlatives out of the way. Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play is the most exciting, stimulating, and thrilling piece of theater to hit New York since Angels in America." - Backstage, Read More
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- Mild Adult Themes
- Minimum Fee: $125 per performance
- Time Period: Present Day, 1980s, 1940s / WWII, 16th Century / Elizabethan
- Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
- Setting: Part One - England, 1575
Part Two - Germany, 1934
Part Three - South Dakota, 1969 – the present
- Features / Contains: Period Costumes
JOHN THE FISHERMAN / ERIC / J
MARY 1 / ELSA
VISITING FRIAR / VISITING ENGLISHMAN, OR SIMON LILLY / VA PSYCHIATRIST
VILLIAGE IDIOT / VIOLET
CARPENTER 1, SAM / CARPENTER 2, JOHANN / ENSEMBLE
CARPENTER 2, SIMON / LUDWIG / ENSEMBLE
DIRECTOR / ROCHUS SCHALLHAMMER
MACHINIST / GERMAN OFFICER / YOUNG DIRECTOR
QUEEN ELIZABETH / HITLER / PRESIDENT REGAN
- Ensemble cast
- Non-Traditional casting
- Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
- Flexible casting
Cast doubles roles for each separate Part of Passion Play.
An early version of Passion Play was produced in workshop at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London in July 2002. It was directed by Mark Wing-Davey.
Passion Play received its world premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., on September 2, 2005. It was directed by Molly Smith.