Sunday, April 01, 2018
In theory, it's quite simple being the Angel in the Duddingston Passion Play. You just have to be present.
The Angel is there from the very beginning, when Jesus blesses the bread and the wine for the last supper. She is there when Jesus blesses the children, and reminds us that we have a light and we must allow that light to shine.
She is there when Pilate and the High Priest interrogate Jesus; when Pilate reluctantly condemns him to death. When Pilate washes his hands of the crime.
And she is there when Jesus picks up his cross and carries it to his death.
She is there at the foot of the cross; there when his dead body is taken down from the cross; and there when the women are wailing at the empty tomb.
And it is there that she comforts the women and announces that Christ has risen from the dead.
All this happens in th presence of the forty or so members of the cast, and the hundreds of people in the audience. Some of whom were weeping as they followed Jesus on his journey to the cross.
It is such a profound thing to live through, and it had an added dimension because I was also with my sisters. With Annabel Cooper, showing the film of Queen Jesus to Trans Pride in Leeds. With Fabiana Fine who has so recently performed as Queen Jesus in Montevideo. With Renata Carvalho and Natalia Mallo presenting the play in the Anglican cathedral of Curitiba in Brazil.
All on Easter Sunday.
And then a long pause, while I try to think about what this all means.
Then I remember that the lines I speak in the play are directly derived from the old liturgical question and answer: "Quem quaeritis?".
This is the question the angel asks the women at the tomb. Who are you seeking? And they say they are looking for Jesus. And the angel says he is not there, he has risen. Just as I say...
And then I remember that this became the origin of a huge number of medieval religious plays. And that these plays then gave rise to European theatre.
And that means that what we are doing as we present Queen Jesus has very deep and very ancient roots.
And somehow that makes me happy and proud; and makes me all the more convinced that what we are doing is right.
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