Augusta Liddic/The Daily TimesThe cross scene of the Passion Play Ministries International production, ÒHe’s Alive,Ó on Friday, April 6, 2012, at the
Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times The cross scene of the Passion Play Ministries International production, ÒHe's Alive,Ó on Friday, April 6, 2012, at the Farmington Civic Center. processed by IntelliTune on 15032013 151500 with script _New Nice Image-CTP
FARMINGTON — One of the most famous stories of all time is scheduled to take the stage at the Farmington Civic Center for the 16th consecutive year.

The Passion Play starts Saturday, March 23 with a Spanish presentation at 7 p.m. Another Spanish presentation will be held on March 24 at 7 p.m. Then English presentations will begin Monday, March 25 and will run through Saturday, March 30. All showings start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Passion Play is part of Passion Play Ministries International.

The play begins with Jesus and his disciples entering Jerusalem, Stan Burgett, the executive director of Passion Play Ministries International, said.

It continues through Jesus' betrayal by Judas, the trial, crucifixion and resurrection, Burgett said.

Essentially, Burgett said, the play tells the story of the last week in Jesus' life, which he described as being the foundation of the Christian faith.

Before the play, there will be backstage tours, Burgett said. The tours will show people how PPMI puts on the play.

Burgett said the backstage tour helps younger viewers who might struggle with the violent, graphic nature of the play. He said the tour enables children to understand the play is a reenactment. The tours will begin at 5:30 p.m. each day the play takes place.

PPMI is also working to get a live orchestra for this year's Farmington play, Burgett said. A Honduras musician wrote a score for the play and will be flying in for the production, he said.


Burgett said the play originally started in Denver. Farmington was the third community to host the play. He said the play came to Farmington after various cast members relocated from Denver to the Farmington area.

Burgett said the Farmington community helped PPMI take the play beyond the United States and all over the world.

The play aims "to share the good news of the resurrection," Burgett said.

PPMI has over 3000 cast members in 23 communities around the world, Burgett said. He said one of the major challenges of putting on the play is the size of the production.

"That's part of the joy," he said.

Burgett said the play requires people to work together and brings members of various denominations together.

In order to find cast members and people to help put the play on, Burgett said PPMI puts out an open invitation to the community. Each community has its own cast of around 200 people. Burgett said by using different casts for each community, PPMI is able to overcome the language barrier. In Farmington, there are two casts Êone that speaks Spanish and another that speaks English.

Burgett said the passion story was never meant to be for Christians alone.

"I think this is a story that appeals to everyone," Burgett said.

The story provides a message of hope, forgiveness and love, he said. He added it shows how Jesus loved even when he wasn't loved.

In addition to the Farmington play, Shiprock will be presenting the Passion Play in June.

Burgett said the Passion Play isn't only for the Easter season, but is for all time. Across the world, it is produced during many different months and seasons. For instance, he said the play will be shown in August in India, November in Honduras and October in Costa Rica.

Hannah Grover may be reached at; 564-4652. Follow her on Twitter @hmgrover