Tonight, I saw Dave McKean and Michael Sheen exchanging tweets about “Passion”, with a capital P, so off to Google I went.
At the end of January, it was announced that Port Talbot in Wales would be paying host an ambitious theatrical event over the Easter Weekend. Based upon the biblical Passion Play, but possibly more so on local stories, The Passion will be a three-day series of linked performances of “landscape theatre” with hundreds of performers involved across numerous locations. Sheen is to be the “creative director” and will also take a role in the piece. He and Bill Mitchell are being credited as co-directors.
The play has been written by the poet Owen Sheers, who has incorporated a number of stories he has gathered from the people of Port Talbot over the last few years.
McKean’s involvement will be in creating a film, Port Talbot Passion, that translates the theatrical event into something lasting and, knowing McKean, dense and rich and striking. A cinema release is planned for later this year, possibly beating McKean’s second, waiting-in-the-wings feature film, Luna, to the screen.
The BBC ran some quotes from Sheen:
It’s not a revival of the Passion Play – it’s inspired by the Passion Play – we are going to use the whole of Port Talbot as our performance base and get as many people involved as we can. I feel like it’s a real privilege and honour to be able to come to my home town, a town that has so much meaning to me and that I have had so much support from.
Better still, this video combines some words from Sheen with images of the town. It feels like something Jem Cohen would have made if he were Welsh.
Tickets to the live event are available now. The Friday night will, of course, include a supper, at which audience members and performers will eat together, amidst the narrative.