Škofja Loka Passion Play is the biggest open-air performance in Slovenia, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to the picturesque medieval town of Škofja Loka. Around 1000 local amateur actors, horsemen and supporting crews make the Passion of Jesus Christ a memorable and moving experience, one will never forget.
The passion play is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death. It is a traditional part of Lent in in Catholic tradition. There are many towns all across Europe and elsewhere in the world staging passion plays, but each one is different and unique.
The Škofja Loka Passion Play, a masterpiece of national importance, has been registered as living cultural heritage and stands as candidate for UNESCO’s list of Intangible cultural heritage. It is based on the oldest Slovene dramatic text in existence, written by capuchin monk Lovrenc Marušič in 1721. It is also the oldest preserved director’s book in Europe and the only one extant from the Baroque period.
Fragments of the play were reconstructed in the beginning of 20th century, but the idea of a new staging of the play was born in Škofja Loka in 1997, when various organisational groups were formed and joined by experts on costume design, language, acting, vocal and instrumental music, cuisine, organisation and promotion. Since then, the Škofja Loka Passion Play has been a regular event held every sixth year.
The play comprises 13 images, some of them are spoken, others mimed explanations of the action. The language is original, with a few translations of words which are unfamiliar to today’s listeners. Since there are no musical sources in the original, the music was written especially for contemporary performances.
The Škofja Loka Passion Play combines the Old and New Testament. It commences with the scene of Temptation of Adam and Eve, continues with the arrival of Death and punishment of the sinners in Hell, which is followed by the arrival of Jesus Christ and scenes from his life, all to way to the Crucifixion. What is unique is that Play is not performed in one place, but moves in a procession along the streets and squares, stopping on four locations.
During the festive days restaurants in Škofja Loka are offering special passion dishes, typical for this area at the time when Škofja Loka Passion Play was written. Loška smojka is baked turnip filled with millet groats. Aleluja are cooked turnip peelings with hot cracklings. Medla is a thick porridge made of millet groats, wheat or buckwheat flour, butter and lard. Samostanska mešanica (Cloister mixture) is a dish made of barley, beans, sour turnip and cabbage. It was given to beggars every Friday.
But this medieval town in the heart of Slovenia is much more than just an ideal location for a moving drama portraying the passion and crucifixion of Christ. Some consider it to be the most beautifully preserved medieval city in Slovenia. Its reach cultural heritage surrounded by beautiful nature is dominated by Loka Castle, built before 1202, standing high above the city and welcoming visitors at the entrance to the town.
There will be eight performances of Škofja Loka Passion Play in 2015 – they will take place either during the day time or in the evening with burning torches providing a mysterious atmosphere:
Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Friday, March 27, 2015 at 6:00 PM (school performance)
Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Monday, April 6, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 8:00 PM
Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 4:00 PM
The codex manuscript of the Škofja Loka Passion Play, Friar Romuald, 1721 – 869 rhymed verses. Capuchin Monastery Archives and Library, Škofja Loka