Pasku

Definition

Theater

  • A Passion Play presented in Sri Lanka. The performancesbegan in the late 19th century in the northern port of Jaffna andthen spread throughout the Catholic population. From 1923 onwardsK. Lawrence Perera wrote and produced several plays in imitation ofthe famous Oberammergau Passion Play. His first piece, thespectacular Shridhara Boralessa Passion Play, used more than 100 villagersand other amateur actors. The venue was constructed like a Rukadapuppet theater, with a central stage and side wings. Controversy arosein 1939 when it was announced that actresses were to play the femaleroles, a decision that was reversed after the Archbiship of Colombobanned the performance as a violation of decorum.

    The Pasku, which is performed in Holy Week, depictsthe key episodes in the story of Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection.Apart from the numerous actors, the performances involve a narratorand the use of life-size effigies, which are dressed in historicalcostume and arranged to create tableaux. The plays are accompaniedby church music.

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