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The show must go on

7 April 2007

These Holy Saturday “Judas Plays” don’t really have an equivalent in Anglo-American culture.  They’re something of the medieval “Mystery Play” mixed with a “Punch n’ Judy” show and vaudeville.   They are a form of morality play, in which the Judases — representing various evils in the world — are punished.  I saw one performed in Nahuatl, where the Judases were AIDS, alcoholism and multinational corporations. This year, legalized abortion is often one of the “Judases” of the world.

After the play, the Judases are burned… in effigy of course.  Those effigies tend to take on the personality of whatever politician has pissed off the organizers that year.  Whether people are cheering the damnation of “War”… or it’s personification in a George W. Bush is an open question. 

They’re a people’s entertainment… not to be taken TOO seriously, but then, I guess some folks just get caught up in the … ahem… spirit of the thing:

A ruckus broke out at the Holy Saturday Passion Play in Cuajimalpa, resulting in injuries to four actors.

As is traditional, one of the Judas characters was being whipped in the vestibule of the Church of San Juan, when the crowd got into a brawl with the “Romans” and their assistants.  Some members of the audience were drinking.  Punches and beer were thrown.  Secretariat of Public Security officers were called to remove three people, who were not accused of any crime. 

A few minutes later, however, the three returned to start trouble again.  According to witnesses,  the three were under the influence of spirits.  Civil Defense units were called to treat the wounded, and two actors were taken to the Public Ministry to make a declaration. 

(Johana Robles in El Universal.  My translation)

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