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. 

Read more +

Passion Play (Ruhl)

by  Sarah Ruhl

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    8m, 3f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic, Faith-based
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From West End
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

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.

Read more +

Reviews

Named one of the “Ten Best Plays of 2008” by The New Yorker

"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

"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

"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

Videos

  • Sarah Ruhl on Passion Play
  • Passion Play
  • Sarah Ruhl on "Poor Theatre"
  • Sarah Ruhl
More videos +

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Present Day, 1980s, 1940s / WWII, 15th Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Part One - England, 1575
    Part Two - Germany, 1934
    Part Three - South Dakota, 1969 – the present
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

8m, 3f
PONTIUS THE FISH GUTTER / FOOTSOLDIER / P
JOHN THE FISHERMAN / ERIC / J
MARY 1 / ELSA
MARY 2
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
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Flexible casting

Casting Notes

Cast doubles roles for each separate Part of Passion Play

Resources

Available Services

More

Authors

Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s plays include How to Transcend a Happy Marriage, For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, The Oldest Boy, In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, The Clean House, Orlando, Late: a cowboy song, Dear Elizabeth and Stage Kiss. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. Her plays have been ...

View full profile
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.

Now Playing

Community Experiences