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<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

New Passion Play: Christians from around the world gathered over the weekend in Oberammergau, West Germany, for a new version of the centuries-old Passion Play about the suffering of Jesus, rewritten to cut out some of the anti-Semitic passages and images. The performance also marked the end of a tradition and sparked controversy. For the first time in the play’s 356-year history, the role of the Virgin Mary was played by a married woman, Elisabeth Petre. In the past, only unmarried women were allowed to act as the mother of Christ. Director Christian Stueckl had faced a barrage of criticism over his casting of Petre.


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