Written and directed by Dario D'Ambrosi, The Pathological Passion of the Christ is inspired by D'Ambrosi's experience as an actor in Mel Gibson's controversial film.
You could not act in Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, without being changed by it. So it was for Dario D'Ambrosi, the Italian actor/playwright and founder of "Pathological Theater," who has, for 24 years, held a mirror up to our nature with plays about society's treatment of the insane. The unsettling similarity of Jesus to the mentally ill today was inspiration for D'Ambrosi's latest play, The Pathological Passion of the Christ.
The play is somewhat Pirandellian in style. Jesus and six other characters take stage in a theater where he is struggling to put on The Last Supper as a play. A series of confrontations ensue in which the play is obstructed; both Christ and the playwright, D'Ambrosi, are critiqued and confronted by the other characters. These include the Apostle Peter, Satan (represented by the theater's cleaning lady), Caiaphus (the Jewish High Priest in the Gospels, here a middlebrow and a scold), Pilate (a hoodlum who has been gelded in jail), Judas (a sexual compulsive) and Mary (portrayed as a universal mother of the handicapped). The piece culminates in a video "shock sequence" in which Jesus is forced to undergo surgery by a strange doctor--recognizable as Christ's lasher in Mel Gibson's film--and reappears post-operative, with his head shaved.
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