Organisers of Passion 2014 in Nicker, Pallasgreen hope to see crowds travelling from Tipperary to Limerick for their Easter time “world first” as if it was a Munster final in the Gaelic Grounds.
Indeed, the official launch takes place in the Ballykisteen Hotel this Friday, February 28 at 8pm.
Over 24 hours on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, April 17 and 18, they will recreate the Passion of Our Lord from the “agony at Gethsemane to his final crucifixion”. It will include the flogging of Jesus, a crown of thorns placed upon his head and being put up on the cross.
Garry Fraher, who takes on the role of Jesus, will actually spend time on a cross and all night in a grotto. The attention to detail is shown by the powerful photograph by Mike O’Riordan. They commissioned Cappamore artist, blacksmith Eric O’Neill to specially make the nails.
Since they launched their plans last November, joint PRO with Mike Gleeson, Ger O’Connell said there has been a huge reaction - locally and globally.
“We believe this will be a special moment. Already it has grabbed the imagination of so many, including groups from Great Britain, France, USA and Denmark, as well as many parts of Ireland.
“For example, a group of monks from Donegal are making it their pilgrimage,” said Mr O’Connell.
“This event is a world first and the unique location lends itself perfectly to the most dramatic story ever told,” said Mr O’Connell, who adds that “no stone has been left unturned” and it is a “big team effort”.
A number of costumes have been purchased in America and they have even imported six oil lamps from Nazareth in Israel. You can’t get more authentic than that. As well as making or buying the best props they can find the group of around 35 have been working on costumes, photographs, sound, lighting and promotions since November.
The dedicated cast are currently rehearsing five nights a week. You can even spot the male members of the cast as they go about their daily lives as their beards are growing and their hair is getting longer
“You’ll come to live this, walk in his footsteps, feel his pain,” say organisers. The project is produced and directed by RTE award winning actor Eamonn Harty, whose passion for the Passion has to be seen to believed.
“People are used to curtains opening and closing; there will be no curtains closing, no exact times. We want the audience to live every moment with us.
“They will not see everything, they will not hear everything but our challenge is to make them feel everything,” said Mr Harty.
All are welcome to the launch in Ballykisteen Hotel this Friday, February 28 at 8pm to find out more and see a 90 minute excerpt.
“Powerful scenes include coming from the garden of Gethsemane to the trial with Pontius Pilate and torture of Jesus. It will be acted out in a transformed function room. All are welcome,” said Mr O’Connell, who promises “something special”.