While the Passion narrative was recorded over 2,000 years ago in the Middle East, a group of Derry-based schools decided this month to offer their own interpretation of those few fateful days.
Students of St Joseph’s Boys’ Secondary School, St Columb’s College and St Mary’s College gathered in St Eugene’s Cathedral to visually retell the story of Jesus’ suffering and death.
Describing it as a “great success”, the play’s director and full-time volunteer of Derry’s Catechetical Centre Mary Murphy, says the young people went beyond the port of call to make it a memorable evening.
“Now these are teenagers, there are so many calls on their time, most of them are lower sixth, they also have exams…I know exactly what they’re up against, and I know it’s even more stressful now, but they gave their time and they gave their talent, Ms Murphy said.
“Many of them who said they couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag ended up playing really good parts – they were amazing.”
The purpose of the play was to share the Faith in a medium beyond just text, in the hope that the message would resonate with the audience in a deeper and more emotive way.
“My idea is that at the end of it, they would feel they would have a deeper, richer knowledge of the Passion. In a way I don’t teach them just to act, we identify the feeling and we talk about it, the emotion in it, whether it’s dread or love or hate or anger or whatever it is, and then they find they can act it out. But basically, my motivation is that all these young people would feel and know more about the Passion and the death of Jesus,” Ms Murphy explains.
With plenty of support from parents and parishioners, Ms Murphy adds that she hopes it strengthens the pupils’ Faith, and that it was an experience they never forget.