37. Religious Performances
Passion Play Attracts World
The greatest use of lantern slides for religious purposes was undoubtedly small presentations in Sunday Schools, and missionary activities. Among professional religious shows, the most popular were recreations of the Passion Play put on at Oberammergau, Bavaria. The Play’s popularity was spurred by the success of John L. Stoddard’s lantern performance of it, which was so powerful that he required a special team of ushers to remove the women who fainted when Christ was crucified.
The Play developed because in 1634 the people of Oberammergau were threatened with the plague. They promised God that if He would spare them its suffering, they would give a Passion Play every ten years.
H. E. Feicht’s lantern version of the Play employed an orchestra and chorus, and was the only one endorsed by the villagers. (Program shown.) The two color slides show villager Anton Lang as Christ, and part of the Play’s cast of 200. You can see the modern Passion Play here.