Evening painting scene in front of Alsfeld town hall, puppet show from 1977
Still from the recording by Hessischer Rundfunk

Alsfeld all pious!The Passion Play is performed on the market square

The Alsfeld Passion Play was first performed on the three days after Easter in 1501. There were two further performances in 1511 and 1517. The Alsfeld Passion Play was closely connected to other Passion Plays performed in Hesse (Frankfurt, Friedberg).

However, only for Alsfeld the full text and the conductor’s roll have survived. The three-day spectacle took place in the middle of the city on the market square, so it was a church as well as a city event. Closely based on the Bible, the Alsfeld Passion Play depicted the Passion of Christ, the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The plot was divided into three days. The success of the performance can be explained by the deep faith of the medieval man; its great importance is expressed in different facets, three of which may be mentioned here: important literary work, very high identification of the townspeople (active participation of about 10% of Alsfeld’s population as actors) and, unfortunately, also expression of a widespread hostility towards Jews at that time, which was rooted not least in the traditional Christian anti-Judaism.

The Steinau Marionette Theater developed a puppet theater play from the Passion Play. The performance in Alsfeld, recorded by Hessischer Rundfunk, can be seen in its entirety in the exhibition. MNic