To The Globe with Eleanor where a company of brave actors have been performing the St James bible since Palm Sunday. By today they'd got as far as the gospels and so Easter morning was spent, in bright sunshine, sitting listening to Matthew and Mark. The four performers dressed and relaxed in their own casual dress, took it in relay turn to deliver ten minute chunks, the words being fed into their ears from handheld ipods, which made them appear incredibly devout, if not a little possessed.
It was a wonderful simple display. For four hours, an attentive crowd of about 100 just sat and heard these familiar stories. The sun gently rose and catching the brim of the theatre's thatched roof created a slither of light that moved almost imperceptibly from stage right to stage left, illuminating the thrust crucifix catwalk just at the moment when Matthew recounts Christ's death.
Perhaps it's because of Corpus Christi and The Canterbury Tales, but there seems to be a revival in sacred drama at present. Later in the summer The Globe will stage their own mystery cycle reworked by Tony Harrison and over this weekend The National Theatre of Wales celebrated their first anniversary with a 72 hour passion played out in the streets and docks of Port Talbot, with Michael Sheen staying in role as Christ for the duration.
These works are not agnostic in any way, but rather try to connect the drama to its earliest roots in liturgy, poetry and worship. In their focus on participation they also recognise that far from being a voyeuristic, bourgeois pastime, theatre has its origins in community engagement and endeavour.