A hat trick for Chris
The year, 2018, will be the third time I have performed in the Mystery Plays - the first being the last time the plays were performed out on the cathedral green in 2008. I played one of Lucifer’s demons and a Roman soldier in the Crucifixion.
In 2013 when the plays moved inside the cathedral, I had the pleasure of playing Joseph alongside the talented Winnie Southgate who played the Virgin Mary. In the same production I also played a soldier in the Crucifixion.
I don’t think there are many people who can say they have a hat-trick of crucifixions but 2018 will be the third time I nail Jesus up. I don’t think I’m being typecast, more a case of knowing how the complicated stage mechanism works, that holds up the large and heavy cross.
I do sometimes wonder how the cast and audience of the first Chester Mystery Cycle, which was performed on the three days after Pentecost (celebration of the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles) in 1375 (643 years ago), would view our modern and updated version of the plays. They would recognise a lot of the middle English that is skilfully used in the 2018 script.
I think that the people of medieval Chester would be surprised at how much of the story we have had to miss out due to modern time restrictions. In 1375 there were seventy-five pageants or plays performed in the streets over three days. In 2018 there are five as we move from creation to the final judgement in two hours, with a twenty-minute break.
Through joining the Chester Mystery Plays cast I have made many lifelong friends. Despite the four-year interval between the plays we all make an effort to stay in-touch and inevitably meet again in other community performances across the city.