The traditional Passion Play in a small Italian town will get a high fashion makeover this year. Gender-bending. The usual objections don't apply.
This year, however, the figure spotlit on the cross will be a woman - a 29-year-old ballerina named Elena Angeli -- who was cast by the play's director, Corrado Sorbara, to show the "other, feminine side of Christ".
His controversial decision has split the town in two. While elderly residents talk of heresy and blasphemy, prompting the mayor to call for the play to be scrapped, younger people support Mr Sorbara's choice.
Last week, the mayor, Nazario Sauro Santi, urged Mr Sorbara to "display some humility", arguing that the image of Christ that local people were used to was the "one taught by the Church fathers". ...
Mr Sorbara remained unmoved by what he called the "dictates of people with a different vision of Christ. The Bible says, 'In Christ, there is no male or female'," he said. ...
In his vision of the Passion, a male figure will play the part of Christ carrying the cross before Miss Angeli, draped in a long-sleeved white tunic, takes his place high on the ramparts.
The actress said yesterday that she was proud to be involved. "To be asked to do the play at a 'more opportune time' is absurd," she said. "Christ on the Cross represents all of humanity. This seems obvious to me, even if I am not a believer myself."
"... even if I am not a believer myself." An article from an Italian site recounts more mock theology on the part of the director Sorbara, including his gloating in anticipation of the stunt: "There'll be this young woman on the cross hanging from the ramparts of the old castle, and she'll scream like a hog with its throat slit."
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Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Mar. 14, 2005 10:15 AM ET USA
"There'll be this young woman on the cross hanging from the ramparts of the old castle, and she'll scream like a hog with its throat slit." A passage which says more than the respondent realizes. For an interesting juxtaposition, open Dostovesky's Demons (Richard Pevear translation) and read the scriptural text in the preface about demons and swine.
Posted by: visions -
Mar. 14, 2005 8:53 AM ET USA
What is a fervent catholic?
Posted by: -
Mar. 13, 2005 6:38 PM ET USA
I hadn't realized that, "Christ on the Cross represents all of humanity." I had always thought that He is the Lamb of God, the spotless sacrifice offered for our sins. That,"This seems obvious to [her], even if [she is] not a believer...", would be prima facie evidence not only that she is not a believer but also that she has no idea what is worth believing.
Posted by: -
Mar. 13, 2005 5:52 PM ET USA
More like "celebrate perversity." Too bad we can't put Sorbara and Angeli into a time machine and translate them back to late 15th century Castille, there to converse with Tomas de Torquemada about their concept of Christ's feminine side.
Posted by: -
Mar. 13, 2005 2:30 PM ET USA
Isn't it providential how anomalies can further our bias?