This past Friday, our Youth Group was given free tickets to see The Story of Jesus - A Passion Play, which is an annual play taken place in Wauchula, Florida. Wauchula is located about 45 minutes from Arcadia, Florida.
This play runs for a one month time period each year and ticket prices are normally $14.00 - $18.00 per person. Senior citizen and child tickets are $16.00.
There is a concession stand and gift table section. The food is typical stadium type snacks, but at very low prices. They had nachos, sodas, water, popcorn and hot dogs. The gift section had t-shirts, CDs, jewelry, baseball caps, bookmarks and other small souvenirs available. Again the souvenirs were decent prices.
The play had several acts and an intermission. The total length of the play's time was about 3 hours. It was done very well and the time went fast.
There were several live animals including: chickens, goats, sheep, oxen, alpacas, camels, horses and even a dog that at one time went to Jesus and played with him during one scene.
Hundreds of people participated in this live production which took place inside a rodeo arena. Black tarps were hung to close out the outside elements and the stage setting took up the whole arena. Seating is on one side of the arena and due to the poles/beams, it does make it a little hard sometimes to see one performer, such as Jesus talking to the crowd/audience. During scenes like this, I thought they could have set him back at least 10-20 feet and make it a bit easier for all seats to see him.
The background stage setting remained in place and the actors utilized different sections during the several scenes.
The production company is planning on building a permanent building for the sole purpose of this play. The land has already been purchased, close to where the arena is now. That will help tremendously and also allow for more seating once this new location is built.
The play, for anyone not aware of a Passion Play, is about the life of Jesus Christ which starts out with the 3 Wise men and proceeds through to the resurrection of Jesus. The scenes portray some of the miracles Jesus performed during His life here on earth; His time with the disciples - including the Last Supper; the betrayal by the people who once flocked to Him for healings; His beatings and crucifiction; the party that hell threw in front of the grave; and the Angels appearing in glorious numbers at His resurrection. Then at the end, Jesus rode through the arena on the white horse as is written in the book of Revelation.
No matter if I am watching the story of Jesus in a play like this, seeing it in a movie or re-reading it from the Bible, it brings me to tears and humbles me. Just to know that God loved me (and us) so much to come as man and die for our sins so that what separated us from Him was rectified and that one day we could all live in heaven with Him throughout eternity.
All of the actors were in period clothing and they even went as far as to have everyone wearing skin coloring that darkened their skin. There were also 3 performers providing sign language for the hard of hearing - that was an excellent touch. They even signed to the music playing when the actors weren't talking.
When the play was over, the announcer invited those who wanted to be water baptized to come to the stage area and they would baptize them in the "river" that was on stage. This was very cool because they had Ordained Pastors there to perform the ceremony and these people got to even have "Jesus" there as a witness. Very cool.
If you ever get to SW Florida during the months of March-April of any given year, check out this play. I know you won't be disappointed. It's definitely a great experience for the young and old. So many youth groups and families were there.
Here is more information on their website. The Story of Jesus - you can also see more images from the play.Or even become a contributor to keep this play running every year.
The pictures included are from the CD available for purchase. The CD includes 240 photos and a slideshow in MP4 format. It only cost $10 or any donation amount.