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The Neumarkt Passion Plays 2009

 
     
 
After the last performance of the Neumarkt Passion Plays 1999, which was sold out just as the 18 preceding ones had been, all the participants had made it their objective to stage the plays again ten years later. The team spirit that had then developed made the cast of 400 stick together so well that the revival of the Passion Plays in the period of time from February 28 to April 10 can be seriously considered without much risk.
 
Thus the plays will have their fixed ten-year rhythm aspired to and which had already been the rule with the Neumarkt Passion Plays in the 17th and 18th centuries.
At that time, in the course of the "re-Catholization" of the Upper Palatinate the Order of the Capuchins had won the people back to the old faith in Neumarkt among other things with religious plays.In the Period of Enlightenment, however, the citizens of Neumarkt were no  longer allowed to perform their beloved Passion Play. In 1793 the last performance took place in Neumarkt. The text of the Play was lost afterwards.
 
It was not until 1901 that enough committed people could be found in Neumarkt, most of them members of the Catholic Journeymen′s association, the predecessor of today′s Kolpingsfamilie, who staged scenes from  the Passion of Christ several times in the manner of a musical play.
 
After World War I, it was again members of the Catholic Journeymen′s Association who, remembering the plays of 1901, wanted to perform Passion Plays in Neumarkt. Their chairman at the time, Catechist German Mayr, at their request, wrote the text for a new Neumarkt Passion Play and also directed the 23 well-attended performances. The plan to revive the plays five years later did not materialise due to the prevailing
circumstances.
 
Not until many years later, in 1959 and 1964 respectively, the Kolpingsfamilie Neumarkt performed German Mayr′s Passion Play again, and it took another twenty years until in 1984 and once again in 1989 the Passion Plays were revived with Josef Meier directing. The then parish priest of St. John′s Parish, Kaspar Hirschbeck rewrote Mayr′s original text for the plays of 1984 taking into consideration all the essential statements of the II. Vatican Council.
 
For the 1999 Plays Studiendirektor Hans G. Hirn revised the text thoroughly.Taking into account the most recent historical and theological research he partly restored G. Mayr′s text with respect to language and contents, partly he supplemented and enlarged it rewriting some scenes and even adding new ones.
In the light of the subsequent experiences of the 1999 plays Hans G. Hirn decided to revise the text for the plays in 2009 yet another time.
 
The first meeting for the Passion Plays in 2009, which will be organized and performed just like all the preceding plays by non-professional volunteers,  met with a tremendous response. Thus  Franz Nüßlein, Chairman of the Kolpingsfamilie Neumarkt, Gerhard Hein, director of the plays in 1999 and 2009, as well as Parish Priest Norbert Winner, the spiritual adviser, are optimistic that, thanks to the commitment, the team spirit and the appropriate inner attitude of all the participants the Passion Plays of 2009 will be a great religious experience.
 
     
 
 


Maria