Passion play for our times takes to streets of Ballyfermot

Easter story reshaped into social drama that addresses key challenges for society

Roxanna Nic Liam, star of ‘The Passion Project’ in rehearsal with Brokentalkers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Roxanna Nic Liam, star of ‘The Passion Project’ in rehearsal with Brokentalkers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

We live in a world where the relevance of messages of faith are regularly doubted. Too often stories from the pages of the Bible seem remote to the real world in which we live, work, love and wonder.

In Christianity, the change moment is not Christ’s birth but rather His Easter rebirth. From the moment of birth, we are on a journey. The Easter message of Christ captures the essence of that journey.

It strengthens us in the knowledge that we can always create new beginnings, that in every “death” there is the potential of resurrection.

The example of Christ speaks also to the importance of service and sacrifice for the good of others. That is the Easter message remembered from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday.

Communities are made up of individuals and like individuals they have their journey. They are born, they struggle, they succeed, they bond, they die, and they can resurrect, becoming newborn and beginning a new journey for a new generation and a new time.

Awakening

The communities of Ballyfermot/Cherry Orchard, like many in Dublin and beyond, face social and economic challenges. They exist in a world where values change, resources are limited and there is no certainty. It is important, therefore, to foster new departures that help reawaken a community’s spirit of service, action and hope.

Cultural expression can be a key to this awakening. Cultural expression that is rooted in a timeless message, refocused on modern challenges and issues, and shaped in partnership with the community itself, can stimulate new energy within a community.

The Passion Project, which will journey through the streets of Ballyfermot/Cherry Orchard on Saturday and Sunday (April 8th and 9th), is one such cultural expression.

Harnessing the Easter story, the street drama was forged through a series of workshops organised with local groups around issues that impact on them. (www.thepassionproject.ie)

The Passion Project addresses Easter themes of, sacrifice, resurrection and hope. The conflict between the new vision of Christ and the vested interests of the elite of His day is retold in a story of a young homeless woman who challenges the plans of a property developer to build local amenities for profit.

The story unfolds around the persecution of this female activist leader , involving an eviction, a trial , a “crucifixion” and a resurrection of hope and community solidarity.

The dramatic story will include a session focused on actions to renew and revitalise community leadership, and a concert that celebrates the achievements and success of the community.

Hundreds will participate in the fusion of drama, music, ritual and debate. In a tangible expression of social solidarity, the proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Simon Community.

Ritual story

The connection between ritual and social drama has long been recognised. In the shaping of this two-day journey, the ritual story of the Passion is reshaped into a social drama that addresses key conflicts and challenges in how we, as a society, can create the future.

This project had many parents. The idea originated with an individual, was championed up by a social enterprise, was embraced by city council, was supported by the local church, and was professionalised by Dublin’s Culture Connects. But most importantly it was shaped and created by Brokentalkers Theatre Company and the local community.

If communities like Ballyfermot/Cherry Orchard are to grow and prosper, they will need champions. They will need leaders who have the wisdom to see beyond the present, the faith to imagine the future, the courage to fight for that future and the selfless spirit of service to place the wellbeing of others above personal advancement.

By seeing the relevance of the truths found within our heritage of religious and secular literature, such leaders can shape cultural events to renew the spirit of action and hope.

The story of Easter gave birth to a new world order, a new set of values and of hopes. Regardless of the human failure over centuries to live to those values and hopes, they remain relevant in today’s very different social landscape.

In the tragedy of every sunset

There lies the promise of the dawn

Peter Finnegan is the Dublin City Council Area Manager

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.