Passion Returns to Illuminate True Purpose of Holy Week

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The image of the three crosses which concludes every performance of the Passion (Photo by AJ LaCroix)

A long-standing Lenten tradition for both St. Paul’s students and the surrounding community is the annual Passion Play put on by students from St. Paul’s, St. Scholastica Academy, and the local Home School Association. Directed by Marian Player moderator and Theater teacher Denny Charbonnet, the play tells of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ before His resurrection on Easter Sunday, with performances scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. for the public, and during school on Wednesday, March 23, for the St. Paul’s student body.

“I feel like the Passion Play has a powerful impact on our student body during Lent,” Charbonnet said. “It puts us right in the Passion. We’re literally walking in the Passion. We have students who are embodying Jesus, Pilate, all of the Pharisees and the soldiers. It puts us in the position that we think we could have been in. That’s why we have a student be Simon the Cyrenean, because it looks like one of us could have been asked to carry that cross. It gets to be a real living breathing story of what Jesus did for us.”

The production has been a tradition since 1999, with many alumni from years past both attending the performance and participating in the production behind the scenes. Coming up on the 17th year, the cast of the show will include Spencer Albright as Jesus, Shane Davis as Simon, Addison Nick as John, AJ LaCroix as the Narrator, Parker Layman as Pilate, Cody Fecke as Judas, Patrick Stewart as Longinus, Nick Oubre as Malchus, Sam Nuss as Caiaphas, Emily Ruli as Mary, Caitlin Smith as Mary Magdalen, Margaret Baglow as Mary the wife of  Clopas, Chloe Charbonnet as Veronica, Shane Ulfers as Man One, Kyle Shiell as Man Two, Grace Piereson as the girl who accuses Peter, Austin Hayes as Pharisee One, Ethan Hopel as Man Three, and Mark Larson as Pharisee Two.

Additional roles of weeping women will be filled by Julia Albright, Ellie Wright, Katie Wright, Sarah Hoerner Caroline Sanborn, and Ella Bereziuk. Matthew Kangas and Sam Kenny will work the spotlights and the lights for the production. Music will be provided by a mix of students and both student and faculty alumni, led by Christi Simoneaux.

The Passion Play will be presented in the school’s Briggs Assembly Center on Jefferson Ave., next to Lasalle Hall.

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