Ben Verbong's "Passion" Puts Prostitute at Dinner Table

March 2000

  • Dutch film director Ben Verbong is presently busy putting the last touches on his stage version of the Passion Play which will take place in the Limburg location of Tegelen between May 14th and September 24th at De Doolhof (The Maze), Holland's largest open air theatre. Regarding his vision on this project, Verbong says, "I wanted to show a lonely and doubting Jesus. The Son of God has not redeemed the world as a radiant hero, but as a human with all the attendant weaknesses and faults." The preparations for this 17th edition of the Dutch event have been underway (i.e. getting organized by some two hundred participants) for two and half years; it takes place once every five years. Smaller than the century old event (Passionspiele) in the German city of Oberammergau, which began it's life in 1634 to fulfill a promise made to God by their last surviving villagers for being saved from the plague, the Dutch version (second largest in Europe) started life in 1931 (no doubt for other reasons). Accompanied by background music from Bach and Orff, this robust, modern version includes such (shocking!) details as Mary Magdelena's presence at the table of The Last Supper. "The concept that Jesus only had male followers is a cultural-historical convention that is no longer acceptable in modern times." So spake Verbong. Performances are Sunday (naturally) afternoons at 2 P.M. as well as 4 evenings in August at 8:30 P.M. Further information (re tickets, etc.) available at www.passiespelen.nl
  • Mick Audsley, the editor on such wonders as "Twelve Monkeys", "Prick Up Your Ears," and "Interview with a Vampire" will be discussing his work for "Shakespeare in Love" and "Dangerous Laisons" on the 24th of March at the Binger Institute in Amsterdam. This event is open to film professionals as well as students of the Institute. Information and reservations available by contacting Annemieke Vellema. Try the website: www.binger.ahk.nl
  • Elton John reunites with Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer (really, Elton!) for the upcoming Dream Works movie "El Dorado". The threesome has had earlier experience together working on "The Lion King". The new result should be equally exciting. Show me the gold.
  • Dick Maas is busy casting for a remake (new version) of "De Lift" (now to be known as "The Elevator") for shooting and release in America. This will be the second English language film of the Dutch director. Going up or going down?
  • Rex Reed, the fabulous film critic we shall never forget, was allegedly found shoplifting 3 compact discs at Tower Records on the upper West Side of Manhattan, so sayeth the New York Times. He was invited to accompany the police to the 20th Precinct station house and presented with a ticket for desk appearance. It's nice to know that one still gets invited out. Supposedly, Mr. Reed was not available for comment. Really, Myron!
  • "Fantasia 2000", the Imax experience, is still running until April at 11 Imax cinemas throughout the world (including Rotterdam). Hurry, people.
  • Peter Stein, the German theatre director, is putting together a marathon performance of Goethe's "Faust" for the Expo 2000 this summer in Hannover. Bound inevitably to bear his own trademark, all performances seem to be sold out already. They were gone on the afternoon of the first day of sale. Who says Madonna rules? Mephisto seems to be doing alright.
  • Late news from a film publicity company regarding "Humanitarian Apprenticeships": a special program set up by the Foster Parents Plan, student organization AIESEC and the Rabo Bank Group through which ten Dutch students will get the chance to obtain work experience of between two and three months in developing countries involving such aspects as improvement in housing conditions, investigative research, and training people. Anyone interested can apply before March 30th. Check it out at www.aiesec.nl or www.fosterparentsplan.nl or Decisions www.rabobank.nl. Decisions will be made about participants on April 19th. Hurry!

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