The Malta Independent 27 May 2024, Monday
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The passion of Christ from the devil’s eyes

Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 13:48 Last update: about 4 months ago

The Devil's Passion, written and performed by Justin Butcher and directed by Olivier Award winner Guy Masterson-Mastroianni, is a daring exploration of the Passion of Christ from Satan's perspective. Set against a contemporary 'War on Terror' backdrop, the play offers a fresh take on the timeless narrative, blending drama, comedy, and poetry to engage audiences in themes of good versus evil, religious extremism, freedom, rebellion, and more. The play will be performed on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 March at 8pm  at St Paul's Pro-Cathedral, West Street, Valletta.   

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The relevance of its setting and themes to contemporary events in Israel-Palestine adds to its topicality.

Through humour and profound storytelling, the play offers both tragedy and hope, inviting audiences to reflect on the enduring power of love and compassion in the face of adversity.
In this 90-minute one-man show - part espionage thriller, part satire, part poetic meditation - Butcher frames the story satirically, presenting the Annunciation as the radicalisation of a 15-year-old schoolgirl and Satan's battle as a defence of civilisation against the enemies of freedom.

Against the backdrop of an occupied Palestine, Jesus embarks on a perceived "suicide mission" to Jerusalem, prompting Satan to enlist the audience's help in averting disaster.
The play draws parallels between contemporary geopolitical conflicts and the biblical narrative, highlighting divisions, barriers, and oppression. Through satire, Butcher explores the victory of vulnerability and love over fear and hatred, emphasising themes of non-violence and hope.

Inspired by the work of Italian theatre maestro Dario Fo, Butcher combines his fascination with the Passion story and his involvement in the Palestinian struggle for freedom to create a unique theatrical experience.
Justin Butcher writes, "Sometimes the timing of things can feel weird, even fated. A few years ago, I attempted to write a play drawing together my fascination with the Passion story with my involvement for many years in the Palestinian people's struggle for freedom, justice and equality in the Holy Land. Another important influence was the work of the extraordinary Italian theatre maestro Dario Fo, satirist, playwright, actor, clown, commedia genius, who's been a lifelong inspiration in my work, in particular his comic, subversive reworking of biblical narratives, Mistero Buffo (the Comic Mysteries) - which outraged the Catholic church when it premiered in 1969 (the year I was born). So, these ingredients alchemised somehow and produced The Devil's Passion - a passion play set in an occupied Palestine, and told by the devil.

With a haunting and evocative soundscape by Jack C. Arnold, richly textured video design by Damian Hale & Christian Krupa (The Chemical Brothers, U2, Elton John) and boldly atmospheric lighting by Tom Turner the production immerses viewers in a richly textured world.

Adapted as a major drama for BBC Radio 3 and starring David Suchet, The Devil's Passion has been praised for its satirical, darkly comic, and stimulating approach to familiar events.
 
Tickets available through Eventbrite

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