Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

MFL - Direct Their Passion: Resources

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

MFL - Direct Their Passion: Resources

Article excerpt

Study and perform the religious play in different languages.

The Passion play is an active way to prepare for Easter, dramatising the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. Originally in Latin, it developed in European vernacular languages during the medieval period and is still performed in many countries, including Germany, Spain and Poland. From Europe, the tradition has spread as far as Australia and Brazil.

The Passion play at Oberammergau in Bavarian Southern Germany has a unique history. Bubonic plague hit the small town in 1633 and villagers vowed to stage a Passion play every 10 years if they could be spared further deaths. They were, and they have kept their promise.

You could start by showing your class a short film explaining that Passion plays are community-based and often performed in the open air. Follow this with illustrated accounts of the Easter story in books or on modern foreign language websites. Use these as the basis for pupils to create their own Passion play.

Divide the class into groups and allow each one to perform a section. It does not have to be realistic drama with lines learned. Simplify it. For instance, the characters could all speak in unison as a chorus that tells the story. That way, everyone has a chance to practise the target language.

Some of the words associated with Easter are useful only in that context, so just teach the important ones, such as "crucify" and "Resurrection". Pupils need to know that the original meaning of "Passion" was "suffering". Other words, such as "love", "death" and "father", are more general in usage. …

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