A Red Deer actor continues to relish his role as Jesus for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play.
Aaron Krogman, who grew up in the City, has been cast as Jesus for the third year in a row. This season will be his last with Passion Play. He has been with the Passion Play for the last five years.
“It’s bittersweet,” he said of his last season. “I will miss the people and I will miss the play. I look forward to being involved with it in some capacity in the future. But I’m really excited to lean into this last year. It’s time to leave it all out there.”
As for his role as Jesus, Krogman said it has been an interesting role to tackle.
“It’s challenging. You want to do the research to see who Jesus is. It’s hard to know what it’s like to be God. According to the story we’re telling, Jesus is God, but he’s also man and that is the really accessible side of things,” he said. “That’s kind of the entry point – to find ways about what it would be like for me to go through these things and to know that Jesus was also man – some of these things would be resonating for him. There is a lot more context for this character.
“I think everyone in the audience brings so much context to the story already for the character of Jesus and for the story. My job is to do the best that I can as an actor. It’s still acting a role but it’s really iconic.”
In its 22nd season, the Canadian Badlands Passion Play in Drumheller has been seen by more than 250,000 people. It returns this year presenting weekend, evening and matinee performances from July 10-26th. The production, which includes hundreds of performers on a stage the size of six football fields, tells the ‘greatest story ever told’ – the story of the life of Jesus Christ, in Canada’s largest natural outdoor amphitheatre.
In addition to celebrating its 20th season last year, the Passion Play was also awarded the ALTO Award for Alberta Pride. Executive Director Vance Neudorf, attributes the recent growth of the play to recent improvements on the production, increased promotional efforts and these accomplishments, but shares that most people indicate that they come to the play after hearing a recommendation from a friend.
The Canadian Badlands Passion Play will feature an updated script, score, and staging, all orchestrated by a talented group of Alberta artists. More than 200 performers (a mix of professional and volunteer actors and musicians of all ages) will be featured in this production, with more than 500 volunteers contributing to the production each year, making it the largest volunteer-driven production in Alberta, and one of the biggest in Canada with more the 45,000 volunteer hours annually.
On average, 60% of attendees who experience the Passion Play are return visitors and 75% of attendees are from Alberta, with guests traveling from as far as Africa, Europe and Asia.
Krogman said for those who haven’t experienced Passion Play, they can expect to see something spectacular.
“There is nothing else like this to see around here. To see 200 people choreographed in an open space outside. It doesn’t matter what the story is – that is worth seeing. It goes back to ancient Greek theatre. It’s amazing to see that. It will really take your breath away.”
Krogman added the setting of the Passion Play also is unique and allows the audience to feel like they have traveled back in time to the days that Jesus was on earth.
“It’s amazing to be able to be outside and to be in the Badlands. I think it’s really cool to be out in the hot sun and in the dry climate with some of the imagery of water and the water of life – it crystallizes a little bit when it feels real. I love the setting.”
He added to be able to work with such a large cast has also come with its rewards.
“It’s so unique to be part of such a large show and it’s such a huge family. I’ve made some friends that will be life-long. I love the community that makes up the Passion Play.”
The Canadian Badlands Passion Play runs July 10th to July 26th in Drumheller.
Evening performances which begin at 6 p.m. will take place July 10th, 11th, 17th, 24th and 25th. Afternoon performances which begin at 3 p.m. will run July 12th, 18th, 19th and 26th.
Tickets are available online or via phone at 1-888-823-2001, or at the door ($5 fee per ticket). Tickets range from $43 to $63 for adults, with special rates for youth and seniors.
For more information visit www.canadianpassionplay.com.