Tenerife’s Good Friday Passion Play

Every year on Good Friday thousands gather at noon in Adeje to witness ‘La Pasion’, a 2 hour performance of the last few hours of the life of Christ.

Performed by local amateur actors, the play begins at the top of Calle Grande depicting Judas’ betrayal, the Last Supper, Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter’s denial of Christ, and the trial before Pontius Pilate; before the final scenes where Christ walks the long and lonely road to crucifixion into the town square which serves as Golgotha, Calvary.

The Roman Centurions, baying crowds, and weeping women are made up of any locals who wish to take part.

A Roman Centurion passes me by.

It is a spectacular sight.

So spectacular in fact, that locals and tourists alike flock to the town to see it, and the event is televised live on Canarian TV. The actors playing the main roles professionally deliver their lines with such passion that it is impossible not to be moved by them, despite the language barrier (the play is entirely in Spanish, but this does not matter). The actors wear microphones, which are relayed to large speakers, so that every word can be heard across the town and the action is played out on a big screen ensuring that those at the bottom end of the street do not miss the action at the beginning.

With a fantasic musical score, including songs sung by the main actors, one of which was a haunting and poignant number by the destraught Mary Magdalene, the play can’t fail to move even the most non-religious in the audience.

By the time a bleeding and beaten Jesus staggers towards the place of crucifixion, bearing the cross and the crown of thorns around his head, it is hard not to feel transported back to the crowd baying for his blood, although the spectators in this crowd maintained a dignified and respectful silence.

Tenerife’s ancient mountains that serve as a backdrop only contribute to the authenticity.

Jesus stops to comfort his mother

Whatever your religious views, I think that the play is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Tenerife over Easter. The play is free to watch but parking can be difficult so if you are planning to go then get there early. It is also a good idea to stand either near a big screen so you can watch the action, or at the top of the hill as this is where most of the play takes place. If you are unable to stand for long then a portable chair might be advisable. As it is an outdoor event suncream is essential, and you might want to bring water and snacks as all the shops are closed for Good Friday.

Unfortunately, I took my camera with me but had forgotten to take my battery from the charger so the only photos I have are a few snapshots taken on my phone 🙁

Do you enjoy street theatre? What is the best street theatre you have seen? Leave me a comment in the section below!

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Runaway Brit

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