Hollywood has impact on Easter holiday

by Kyla Alexis Reporter FOX 28 Newscast 4/11/04

By now, most people are familiar with Mel Gibson's version of "The Passion", but did you know many churches in Michiana offer their own performances of the biblical story?  Sunday, Andrews University in Berrien Springs sponsored an interactive Passion play.

As FOX 28's Kyla Alexis found out, just like with the movie, people flocked to see the university version of "The Passion."

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: Passion plays usually draw a large audience... but those putting on the play at Andrews University this weekend were shocked by the turnout.

Kristin Denslow, PRODUCER OF PASSION PLAY: To see all these people coming out to have one common goal of bringing Christ to this campus and into people's lives. That's what it's all about.

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: In one year, the audience doubled, with more than 10 thousand people watching one of the performances. Many in the audience say the movie the Passion generated their initial interest.

Barry Brooks: To see it is totally different, it impacts you a lot more.

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: The play is very interactive. The audience follows Jesus through a traditional marketplace, hears Pilate wash his hands of Jesus, and eventually witness his crucifixion.

Barry Brooks, WATCHED THE PASSION PLAY: They took Jesus away and you could hear him getting whipped and I said to my mom, "Man, can't you just feel that in your heart?"

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: While the movie, The Passion, focuses primarily on suffering and the crucifixion of Jesus, this play emphasizes the hopes and salvation Jesus brings.

Ben Juhl, PLAYS JESUS: To focus on the suffering and forget about the victory is to miss the point of the story I believe.

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: It's a message audience members can appreciate.

Luann Bermeo: The part that sets this apart is that he came to life again. The scene where he rises from the dead is the best, simply the best.

Kyla Alexis - FOX28 NEWS: Regardless of why they came, many Christians left the play with a renewed sense of hope... as the message of Jesus lives on.